Fixing transmission issues

Fixing transmission issues

Fixing  transmission issues

EnergyDay Editorial Board 

It is no longer news that the  national grid frequently suffers from an avalanche of system collapse, and regularly fails to transmit available generation (a peak of 7.6 GW) to distribution companies.

We view with dismay and  disappointment  the frequency at which system collapse occurs.

The issue has become so concerning such that between 2017-2021, about 29 system collapses occurred due to faults and load disturbances leading to partial or total blackouts nationwide. 

It is regrettable that despite awareness that  transmission network has long been a weak link in the country’s electricity value chain, the government has done very little to change the narrative. 

Inspite of  recent improvement, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has never dispatched more than 5.4GW of power to a country of almost 200 million inhabitants. 

This magazine is deeply concerned like other  stakeholders, about the weak capabilities of our transmission company, and urges government to take action for the sake of the economy.

As it is, Nigeria’s power supply reliability largely depends on the ability of the TCN to expand the transmission network and absorb more generated power.

While significant funds have been raised to hit transmission expansion targets, the TCN must carefully consider its investment options, select vital upgrades, and closely monitor expenses. 

Few days ago,  the Nigeria electricity  suffered  yet another system collapse  for the  29th time in three years.

The latest incident had resulted in blackouts in parts of the country,  worsening the supply situation in most parts of the country.The collapse, occurred around 11.00 am penultimate Wednesday

The incident was confirmed by the electricity distribution companies in separate messages to their customers, including Kaduna,Ibadan, Ikeja and Eko Discos.

Meanwhile, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, manager of Nigeria’s electricity grid, while also acknowledging collapse of the  power grid, attributed it to  a drop in voltage.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN, Ndidi Mbah, in a statement issued in Abuja, on Wednesday, disclosed that the company had to immediately commence grid recovery after the collapse.

She said the restoration started from a hydro-power generation station in Niger State down to Abuja through Delta to Benin and up to Lagos.

Mbah said, “The Transmission Company of Nigeria,  hereby states that at about 11.01am today, 12th of May, 2021, there was a total system collapse of the grid, as a result of voltage collapse at some parts of the grid.

“TCN commenced grid recovery immediately after the collapse, from Shiroro Generating Station to Katampe TS, Abuja through the Shiroro – Katampe line at 11:29am, and also through Delta Generating Station to Benin Transmission Substation and has reached Osogbo and parts of Lagos,”
TCN spokesperson said .

EnergyDay  is aware  that the collapsed power grid, usually managed by TCN, has been in that state over the years due to lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such  a reoccurrence.

The TCN needs an average of 400MW of spinning reserves, but currently has none, while it is still expecting the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to approve the 260MW of spinning reserves it recently procured.

Spinning reserve  is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages

We are persuaded to believe that in any part of the world, the level of the energy demand, availability of reasonably priced public power supply (especially through the grid) and utilization thereof, in a country’s economy, are largely indicative of a country’s degree of economic development. 

It also gives a sense of its economic growth trajectory. To accelerate economic growth and development in the face of very poor grid power supply, the Federal Government of Nigeria must up its game and do the needful.

Currently,  protection failure contributes to over 60% of system shutdowns, as nearly half of the 738 interfaces are not protected at the injection substations nor monitored in real-time.  There is a need for the government to fast-track construction of digital control centres. Once built, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Electricity Management System (EMS) and telecommunication networks will enable the TCN to digitally monitor the grid in real time, trace and repair system collapse faults, and minimize “blame game” in the industry