Mainstream Energy Solution, whose chairman is Col. Sani Bello Rtd, which runs two of Niger’s biggest hydroelectric plants, has begun operating a new Chinese-funded facility, nearly a year after winning the concession, the utility said on Thursday. Mainstream Energy Solution Ltd said its subsidiary Penstock Energy Ltd is running the new 700 megawatts plant in Zungeru, central Nigeria, which has been built with a $1.3 billion loan from China.
Nigeria’s privatisation agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), last February awarded the concession to Mainstream Energy, which will pay the Nigerian government $70 million annually over three decades to operate the plant. “This is where the real work starts in ensuring that the asset is managed in accordance with international standards,” Mainstream Energy CEO Audu Lamu, said in a statement on Thursday. Over the last decade, China has been active in Nigeria, providing finance through its development bank to build infrastructure including rail, airports, and power generation plants. The Mainstream Energy-run Kainji and Jebba hydroelectric plants have a combined output of 1,338 megawatts which accounts for about 33% of Nigeria’s current 4,000 megawatts power generation. Much more is needed as millions of households and businesses suffer frequent blackouts.
Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL) was incorporated and licensed as a power generating company in 2011. The Kainji and Jebba Hydro Plants (HPP) with a total installed capacity of 1338.4 MW were acquired through a concession agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria in November 2013. The two hydro plants are cascaded 100km apart with Kainji dam situated on the upstream of Jebba. The two hydro power plants Kainji and Jebba have installed capacities of 760MW and 578.4MW, respectively. Kainji was commissioned as Nigeria’s first Hydro Power plant in 1968 while the Jebba Hydro Power plant was commissioned in 1985.