Zungeru is an under construction hydroelectric power project in the Niger State of Nigeria (Credit: Lynn Greyling from Pixabay)
The 700MW Zungeru is the biggest hydropower project in Nigeria (Credit: Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay)
The 330/132kv transmission lines connect the hydroelectric power station to Jebba and Shiroro power plants, and Tegina substation. (Credit: Natasha G from Pixabay)

Zungeru is an under construction hydroelectric power project being built in the Niger State of Nigeria. The federal government of Nigeria through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is acting as the grantor/sponsor of the project.

The 700MW Zungeru is the biggest hydropower project in Nigeria.

The idea to build the power plant was first conceived in 1982. However, it could not proceed due to the lack of funds.

Construction works commenced in 2013 following a deal with two Chinese firms- China National Electrical Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) and Sinohydro Consortium.

The project, which entails an investment of around $1.3bn, also received a preferential loan facility from the Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) of China.

The government is providing 25% funding for the project, while the Exim Bank will fund 75% with low-interest loans.

Once complete, Zungeru Hydroelectric Project is expected to produce 2.64 billion kwh of electricity per year and meet around 10% of Nigeria’s total domestic energy requirements.

Additionally, the hydropower project will create employment opportunities for more than 2,000 Nigerians during peak construction. The government expects that the facility will also help in controlling floods, support irrigation and fish breeding centres.

The project provided employment opportunities to more than 2,000 Nigerians during the peak construction period.

It is expected to be inaugurated in 2023.

Location and Site details

The Zungeru Hydroelectric Project is being built on the upper and middle reaches of the Kadina River near Zungelu in the Niger State.

The project is situated nearly 150km from Abuja, the federal capital of the Republic of Nigeria. Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Plant is situated 77km downstream from the site.

Project details 

Zungeru is designed to generate 2,630gwh of renewable power and flow rate of 880m3/s with a plant factor of 0.33.

The key components of the project include a reservoir at an elevation of 230m, a concrete faced rock fill dam with a maximum height of nearly 113m, a concrete spillway equipped with four radial gates designed to pass probable maximum flood (PMF) and a powerhouse.

The powerhouse located on the left bank dam toe will have four Francis hydroelectric turbine units each with a 175MW. The turbines are designed to operate at net nominal head of 92m at the nominal flow of 220m3/s and at the rated speed of 107.1rpm.

The total storage area of the project is 11,419mcm.

The dam will be made of Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) in the valley and left bank, and will feature rock fill with impervious clay core on the right bank and earth fill with clay core on the straddle dam.

The roller concrete compacted dam (RCC) will be 1,090m in length and 90m in height.

The main hydraulic structures of the project (gated spillway, power intake, and diversion galleries) are integrated into the roller concrete dam (RCC) structure on the left bank of Kaduna River.

Other key infrastructure will include four 300KV transmission line circuits, a tailrace channel, a 30k access road and a transmission line among others.

For construction purposes, a temporary service bridge was built downstream of the dam.

The two transmission line components- 330kV Shiroro-Jebba-Zungeru Transmission Line and 132kV Transmission Line to Tegina substation, will transfer the power generated from the plant.

Contractors and Agreements

Power Construction Corporation of China and China National Electric Engineering Company Limited (CNEEC) are building the Zungeru Hydropower Project in collaboration with Decrown Nigeria Limited. The first unit of the plant was put into operation in March 2022.

China Hydropower Engineering Consulting Group (CHECG)-subsidiary Kunming Survey and Design Institute was contracted to provide design and technical services for the project.

In November 2022, the Nigerian government invited bids for Zungeru hydropower plant concession. The winning concessionaire will operate, manage and maintain the hydropower plant for 30 years.