Hydroelectric power: What's it all about?

Sep 26, 2022

Nigeria is blessed with a lot of natural resources, which include natural waterfalls, lakes, and rivers like the Lake Chad basin, Benue river, and Niger river. Some of Nigeria’s rivers have substantial hydropower potential that can serve as an alternative to the production of electricity using fossil fuels.

For example, the Kainji hydroelectric dam, which is a dam across the Niger river in Niger State, has 8 turbines installed with a capacity of about 760 megawatts and generates electricity for major cities in Nigeria. Some of this electricity is also sold to the country of Niger.

Currently, out of the 30 power plants in Nigeria, four use water sources to generate power:

  • Kainji power station in Niger State (760 MW - 800 MW)
  • Jebba power station in Niger State (540 MW)
  • Dadin Kowa power station in Gombe State (40 MW)
  • Kano power station in Kano State (100 MW)

How is hydroelectric power generated?
Hydroelectric power makes use of natural bodies of water to generate electricity through the use of diversion structures like dams to alter the flow of a river.

Hydroelectric power uses turbines and generators to convert a river’s kinetic energy (the energy it has due to its downstream motion) into electricity, which is then fed to the electrical grid to power homes and businesses.

Simply put, water flows through a pipe and spins the blades of a turbine, which then spins a generator that produces electricity.

Advantages of hydroelectric power

  • It is a cheap source of energy as water isn’t paid for and does not require significant effort to get it.
  • It is a renewable source of energy. The process of power generation does not reduce or eliminate the amount of water being used.
  • It is a clean source of energy. It is fueled by water and produces power without releasing harmul gases like carbon dioxide.
  • It provides clean drinking water, irrigation support, and flood control.
  • Hydroelectric power is more durable over time when compared to other energy sources.

Disadvantages of hydroelectric power

  • It displaces people
  • It could become inefficient when there is a drought.
  • The environmental impact of building a dam, roads, and power lines could be significant.

Viability of hydroelectric power in Nigeria
Nigeria has many potential sites for hydroelectric power plants (Fakehinde et al., 2018) and to meet the country’s energy needs, hydroelectric power needs to be explored even more.

Electricity generated from any kind of energy source is fed to the electrical grid to power your business and home. For you to access this electricity, don’t forget to visit www.buypower.ng (or download our mobile app) to get electricity units from the comfort of your home.

Do you have any thoughts about the potential of hydroelectric power in Nigeria? Let’s hear them in the comments section below.

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