WAPIC gathers power and utility stakeholders in Lagos
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, former Nigerian Power Minister Bart Okechukwu Nnaji and Ughelli Power were some of the popular winners at the inaugural West African Power Industry Awards that were announced at the sold-out gala dinner ceremony during the West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) on Tuesday evening in Lagos. The award for Outstanding Woman in Power was presented to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof Nnaji was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award while Ughelli Power won for the Power Transaction of the Year.
More than 1000 power professionals are gathered in Lagos this week for the 11th edition of WAPIC where the latest updates on the Nigerian power industry’s privatisation and other opportunities in the regional energy sphere were discussed.
Utility industry celebrating its heroes
“Congratulations to all the winners!” says WAPIC programme director Irene Ochem. “The judges had a difficult time choosing between all the worthy finalists. It is wonderful to see such inspiring developments that are happening in this region and that Nigeria is taking such a pioneering role. The power sector is not looking back anymore but rather forging ahead and pushing boundaries. This bodes well for the future of the West African region.”
The winners in the West African Power Industry Awards categories are:
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual for achievements over his/her career which have made an outstanding contribution to and impact on the West African Power Industry, whether from a public or private company or institution.
Winner: Professor Bart Okechukwu Nnaji (see picture left with Andrew Alli CEO, Africa Finance Corporation, Nigeria).
Professor Bart Okechukwu Nnaji, CON, is the former Minister of Power of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has forged a distinguished career in his contribution towards the socio-economic development of the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Professor Nnaji is the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Geometric Power Limited, an indigenous private power development company. We recognise Prof Nnaji for the tremendous impact that he has had on the power sector and for his ministerial contributions in transforming the energy landscape in Nigeria.
Outstanding Woman in Power
This award celebrates a woman for outstanding achievements during the past year that have made a contribution to and impact on the West African Power Industry, whether from a public or private company or institution.
Winner: Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a globally renowned Nigerian economist best known for her two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria, her current position, and for her work at the World Bank, including several years as one of its Managing Directors. As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, she is leading a dynamic economy with an established energy sector and a growing industry. She has improved Nigeria’s economic growth by making the energy sector more transparent. She has also been the force behind the privatisation process and has called for strategic focus on development, particularly in energy.
Best Rural Electrification Project
This award applauds a project launched by a public or private company or institution within the last year that positively impacted the electricity generated or distributed in rural areas in West Africa.
Winner: Solar Light Company
Solar Light Company promotes green energy with solar electric systems in Ghana and other West African countries that can be deployed in socio-economic activities within rural communities that are not connected to the national grid. This includes power for lighting, vital medical devices in hospitals, clinics and health posts as well as water pumping systems for crop irrigation and livestock watering. The company was recently awarded a 315kW solar installation in Ghana, which was the largest in the country at the time. The project was completed on time and well within budget.
Best Renewable Energy Project
The Best Renewable Energy Project rewards a project launched by a utility, off-grid producer, IPP, government, minister, regulator or investor within the last year.
Quintas Renewable Energy Solutions is solving the challenge of access to grid energy in the Ofosu community of Ondo State, which lacks access to grid electricity, but has a strong local farming industry. The company plans to develop a 500 kilowatt biomass power plant which will take advantage of the community’s agricultural and forestry residue, including sawdust from the four sawmills in the area that currently rely on expensive diesel for power. The new power plant will include a steam turbine, generator, and gasifier with a combustor, and the electricity will be paid for through pre-paid meters.
Power Transaction of the Year
The award commends investment in power over the last year by any investor, financial institution or consortium that has had a major social impact on the West African Power sector.
Winner: Ughelli Power
At the beginning of this year, Transcorp Ughelli Power Ltd and General Electric signed an agreement to expand the capacity of the Ughelli power plant by 1000MW over the next 3 to 5 years. Both parties also signed a separate agreement to rehabilitate the damaged GT 15 turbine at the Ughelli plant, which will add 115MW to the plant’s output. Our esteemed judges comment that “since taking over the Ughelli power plants, the new owners have been taking giant strides in recovering generation capacity and remodelling the power station. They boast a solid management team capable of driving the required improvements. Their commitment is highly commendable.”
Excellence in Power Transmission or Distribution
The Excellence in Power Transmission or Distribution award will go to the transmission or distribution company that excelled in any one or more of the following areas: distribution of power, service delivery, project roll-out, technology roll-out, revenue protection measures and loss reduction.
ABB has won a US$ 40-million order to design and build a new high-voltage power transmission corridor, including the installation of fibre optics, to Nigeria’s new federal capital of Abuja.
The order was placed by Nigeria’s Ministry of Power and Steel and the Nigerian Electricity Authority (NEPA) as part of an ongoing initiative to upgrade the country’s electrical infrastructure to support economic development. The installation of optical fibre throughout the entire line will allow Abuja and the rest of the country to build up its telecommunications and data communications capability – a key enabler for future Internet technologies and communications.
Excellence in Power Generation
This award celebrates accomplishments within the past year of energy generation by a generating company, utility, IPP or renewable energy project that significantly changed the power output in West Africa.
The Winner: Seven Energy
Seven Energy’s Uquo Gas Processing Facility has had significant impact on power generation, with the first commercial gas deliveries that commenced in early 2014 to the 190 MW Ibom Power station. With the addition of deliveries to the 560 MW Calabar NIPP power station. Seven Energy will be supplying gas to more than 10% of Nigeria’s power generation capacity. In total, they have 1.3 trillion cubic feet (“Tcf”) of long-term gas sales agreements in place, with a duration of between 10 and 20 years.
The awards evening was attended by leading executives from across the power, renewable energy, finance and investment spheres, and is considered a long overdue addition to what is the leading utility gathering of its kind in the region.
The 11th edition of this long running conference and expo is enjoying overwhelming support from the industry. The global networking and telecommunications giant, Huawei, is the exclusive diamond sponsor for WAPIC. Other leading industry names such as the Nigerian IPP Genesis Electricity Limited (GEL) and Aiteo Power Generation and Distribution Company are the platinum sponsors for the event.
The West African Power Industry Convention is organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.