Construction has begun on major natural gas-fired power plant in Nigeria, part of a plan by the country’s government to help improve the supply of electricity amid frequent power shortages.
The 1,350-MW Gwagwalada Independent Power Plant, which will burn domestically sourced gas, is expected to provide about 11% of the country’s electricity once the facility is fully operational. The plant near the Nigerian capital of Abuja will be built in three phases, with GE Vernova among three groups leading the facility’s engineering and construction.
State oil firm NNPC said the first phase of construction began August 4. The facility is the first major energy project developed under the administration of President Bola Tinubu, who took office in late May.
Nigeria, which has the largest economy and the largest population—about 224 million—in Africa, is one of several countries on the continent struggling with inadequate power generation capacity and a power grid prone to disruptions. Mele Kyari, chief executive of NNPC, in a news conference said the Gwagwalada plant would enable the country to “monetize our abundant gas resources.” Nigeria has the largest reserves of natural gas on the continent, and is among the top 10 exporters of liquefied natural gas.
NNPC officials said the first phase of the plant, being built by GE Vernova and China Mechanical Engineering Corp. in partnership with NNPC, is expected to be completed next year.
Tinubu, speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony last week, said the power plant is a “first bold step” for his administration. The president has said his government wants to make a strong energy sector a leading part of efforts to improve Nigeria’s economy. The country has about 12.5 GW of installed power generation capacity, but many homes and businesses across Nigeria rely on generators to produce their electricity, due to problems with power delivery.
NNPC has said the Gwagwalada plant is one of three projects planned along a 384-mile natural gas pipeline corridor. The three plants in total would add about 3.6 GW of power generation capacity, according to NNPC.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).