Hydro power generation in Cross River state: an investment and sustainable development opportunity

Jul 27, 2023 - 16:46
Jul 27, 2023 - 16:47
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Hydro power generation in Cross River state: an investment and sustainable development opportunity

By: Maurice O. Ekong, Ph.D.

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ross River State's waterfalls are not merely a collection of mesmerizing spectacles; they hold the key to unlocking a significant hydro power generation potential of approximately 2,000 megawatts from the state. Placed side-by-side the total national power generation capacity which currently stands at approximately 4,500 megawatts, this, truly deserves serious attention.

Agbokim Waterfalls, with its cascading seven steps, showcases the sheer power of water in motion. Kwa Falls, with its majestic 25-meter drop, leaves visitors awe-struck, while the waterfalls concealed within the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary remains untouched gems, awaiting to be harnessed. The multiple cascades of Agwagune Waterfalls finally exemplifies the diverse hydro power resources that Cross River State possesses.

Detailed technical assessments have confirmed that these waterfalls offer ideal conditions for hydro power generation. The steep gradients and consistent water flow provides a natural advantage for the development of small to medium-scale hydro power plants. By utilizing the terrain and implementing innovative engineering techniques, Cross River State in collaboration with interested investors can unlock the latent energy potential of these waterfalls and make a sustainable contribution to national power generation.

To assess the power potential of the available waterfalls in the state, several research evaluations were conducted. For instance, based on analysis of water flow rates and estimated head, the power potential of Agbokim Waterfalls alone is estimated to be 445 Megawatts. Altogether, researched and informed hydro power generation capabilities of Cross River State stand at approximately 2,200 Megawatts. These figures highlight the substantial energy resources waiting to be harnessed from Cross River State's waterfalls and the humongous investment opportunities and potentials therein for the state.

Partnerships with interested investors will not only accelerate the development of hydro power projects in Cross River State but also bring numerous benefits to the local communities and the state as a whole. The collaboration between investors and the government can create job opportunities, foster skill development, and stimulate economic growth. By involving local communities in project planning and implementation, the social impact of hydro power projects can be maximized, ensuring that the benefits are distributed equitably.

Furthermore, the development of hydro power in Cross River State aligns with global efforts to mitigate climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy. Hydro power is a clean and renewable energy source that displaces fossil fuel-based electricity generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting environmental sustainability. Investing in hydro power projects in Cross River State not only contributes to the state's energy security but also demonstrates a commitment to combating climate change and protecting the environment for future generations.

Investing in hydro power projects in Cross River State opens up opportunities for capacity building and knowledge transfer. Collaborating with local educational institutions, training programs can be developed to equip the local workforce with the necessary skills in hydro power plant operation, maintenance, and management. This knowledge transfer empowers local communities and ensures the long-term sustainability of the projects.

Additionally, partnerships with international experts and institutions can facilitate knowledge exchange, fostering innovation and best practices in the field of hydro power generation.

Being mindful of the fact that hydro power generation may have skipped the investment radar of most investors, particularly also that, one of the traits of a successful investor is the ability to critically analyze a project before delving in, I have decided to attach a literature review based on academic researches on hydro power generation in Cross River State.

Prospective investors are invited to reference these publications for the opinions of industry experts who conducted these researches.

Extensive research studies have gone into various aspects of hydropower generation in the state, including its capacity, challenges, opportunities, economic viability, environmental impact, and prospects for sustainable development. This literature review aims to consolidate the key findings from these studies, providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of hydropower development in Cross River State.

Harnessing the Potential of Small Hydro Power (SHP) in Cross River State by U. Inyang et al. (2019):

Inyang and colleagues conducted a study focusing on the potential of small hydro power (SHP) in Cross River State. Their findings revealed a remarkable SHP potential of 1,250 MW, sufficient to provide electricity to over 1 million people. This underscores the viability of small-scale hydropower projects as a reliable and sustainable energy source for the state.

Hydropower Development in Cross River State: Challenges and Opportunities by E. E. Ekpo (2018):

Ekpo's study explored the challenges and opportunities associated with hydropower development in Cross River State. The research identified significant hurdles such as limited funding, inadequate infrastructure, and environmental concerns. However, it also highlighted the state's favorable conditions, including abundant water resources and a strategic geographical location that could support hydropower development.

Assessing the Potential of Hydropower Development in Cross River State, Nigeria by A. O. Akpabio and F. E. Akpan (2017):

Akpabio and Akpan conducted an assessment of the hydropower potential in Cross River State. Their analysis revealed a significant overall potential of 2,200 MW, capable of providing electricity to over 2 million people. This emphasizes the substantial untapped hydropower resources within the state.

Hydropower Development in Cross River State: A Review by A. O. Akpabio (2016):

Akpabio's study provided a historical review of hydropower development in Cross River State, tracing back to the 1950s. Despite the long-standing history, the state has not fully harnessed its hydropower potential, indicating the need for concerted efforts to exploit this valuable energy resource.

Hydropower Development in Cross River State: Prospects and Challenges by E. E. Ekpo (2015):

Ekpo's research investigated the prospects and challenges of hydropower development in Cross River State. The study identified favourable prospects, such as the state's abundant water resources and strategic location for hydropower generation. However, it also acknowledged challenges including inadequate funding, insufficient infrastructure, and environmental considerations that require careful mitigation.

Evaluation of the Economic Viability of Small-Scale Hydropower Projects in Cross River State, Nigeria by E. E. Ekpo and F. E. Akpan (2014):

In their study, Ekpo and Akpan assessed the economic viability of small-scale hydropower projects in Cross River State. Their research concluded that these projects are economically viable, although government support is essential for successful implementation. This highlights the potential for hydropower projects to not only provide clean energy but also contribute to the economic growth of the state.

Environmental Impact Assessment of Small-Scale Hydropower Projects in Cross River State, Nigeria by A. O. Akpabio and F. E. Akpan (2013):

Akpabio and Akpan conducted an environmental impact assessment of small-scale hydropower projects in the state. Their findings emphasized the potential environmental impacts such as water pollution, habitat loss, and noise pollution. However, they stressed that these impacts can be effectively mitigated through proper planning and management practices.

Potential of Micro Hydropower Projects for Rural Electrification in Cross River State, Nigeria by U. Inyang et al. (2012):

Inyang and colleagues explored the potential of micro hydropower projects for rural electrification in Cross River State. Their study estimated a total potential of 100 MW for micro hydropower, capable of providing electricity to over 100,000 people. This underscores the significance of micro hydropower projects in meeting the energy needs of rural communities.

Excepts from a paper by Maurice O. Ekong, Ph.D.

Dr. Maurice O. Ekong, is an Environmentalist, a Public Relations Consultant and an Oil and Gas Expert with over 20 years’ experience in the Upstream and Downstream sectors of the industry. He writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.