Although electricity production in Nigeria started in Lagos in 1886, the concept of a well-lit Lagos at night remained an unthinkable reality. This was owing to the use of just two 60 kW generators to produce energy. Which was inadequate to power Lagos, much alone the whole nation at the time.
Therefore, an alternate source of electricity production was sought as a matter of urgency, and the Ijora Power Station, as it is now called, was commissioned in 1923. The plant is one of the country’s oldest and was constructed in four stages with an original capacity of roughly 20 megawatts (Mw) of energy using steam turbines and coal-fired boilers.
The whole city of Lagos grew reliant on the two turbo-alternators producing electricity at Ijora over time. In the late 1940s, Ijora’s second phase of construction, known as “Ijora B,” began, with a generating capacity of 85 megawatts. The station was oil-fired, making it Nigeria’s most modern power plant at the time. Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated this second phase during her visit to Nigeria in 1956.
The third stage of development in the 1960s contributed 30.2 megawatts of energy, bringing the station’s installed capacity to 142 megawatts. In 1978, the station’s fourth expansion phase saw the construction of three additional gas turbines, each with a total of 20 megawatts bringing the output of the Ijora Power Plant to over 200 megawatts.
These days, the Ijora Power Plant has fallen into disrepair and is mainly used to repair transmission transformers and other equipment. Though power generation in Nigeria has become widespread, the Ijora Power Plant is Nigeria’s first modern power plant.
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62 years of Project Nigeria: Episode 1
Project Nigeria Episode 3: The first storey building in Nigeria
The 123-year-old Jaekel House
Episode 5: 3 things to know about the Ancient Kano City Walls
Sir Herbert Macaulay: Nigeria’s first Civil Engineer
Episode 8: History of the Abuja National Mosque
Project Nigeria Episode 9: The First Seaport in Nigeria
An overview of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
Cocoa House Ibadan: The first skyscraper in West Africa
Episode 12: The story of the River Niger Bridge Anambra