Posted by Bolaji Aluko on
I am often amused when I read NEPA officials as well as other political operatives of the present civilian administration boast that while before 1999, the electric energy output of the country was roughly 1700 MW out of a total capacity of 6000, they have been able to maintain it steadily in the 2500 – 3200 MW range, and – surprise, surprise !
I am often amused when I read NEPA officials as well as other political operatives of the present civilian administration boast that while before 1999, the electric energy output of the country was roughly 1700 MW out of a total capacity of 6000, they have been able to maintain it steadily in the 2500 – 3200 MW range, and – surprise, surprise ! - have even for a period attained a peak of 4, 200 MW, and that they are now aiming for 10,000 MW by the year 2010 ! These government officials are quick to trot out where and how electrical energy is produced in Nigeria (See Table 1) and “big” plans for new ones (See Table 2).
So how big are 1,700, 3,200, 4,200, 6,000 and 10,000 MW ? Puny amounts of electric power for a country 140 million strong, if you ask me !
So what is all this boasting about ? Quite amazing.
The question as to how much energy (in form of electricity) Nigeria really needs is never emphasized. To answer this question – among several other important questions - we first need to do some quick energy arithmetic and then look at some international benchmarks.
BACK-OF-THE-ENVELOPE ELECTRICAL ENERGY ARITHMETIC
We are all familiar with the 60 Watt bulb, but for the moment, let us look on the brighter side and consider the 100 Watt bulb, and assume that ten of those (that could light up 5 standard size living or bedrooms or areas) are turned on 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. That will require a 1,000 Watt generating power – or 1 kW power-generating plant running 24/7, assuming no power losses from the generation point through the transmission line to the delivery site of the bulbs. 10,000 of those 100-Watt bulbs will therefore require a 1 MW power plant. [1 MW = 1,000 kW = 1,000,000 W ]
Watts and megawatts are units of power, which, if deployed in time, produce energy to do electric work. The unit of such energy is watt-hr (a watt of power deployed over one hour) or the , KWh or the MWh as the case may be.
I MW of a power station running 24/7 (assuming 100% efficiency) produces roughly 0.01 billion kWh in one year (calculated from 1000 Kw x 24 hrs per day * 365 days per year ). That means that a 100 MW power plant – a good standard for sizing such plants - produces about 1 billion kWh (or 1 terawatt-hour) annually.
A COMPARISON WITH OTHER NATIONS
From the above quick arithmetic, Nigeria’s maximum-capacity generating plants of 6,000 MW should therefore be producing 60 billion kWh annually if running constantly.
Now I have been looking at several countries around the world – thirty-five countries to be exact - to assess their electrical energy production and usage. You will find the results in Table 3, arranged within each class of countries in order of declining per capita electricity production.
First we find that Nigeria is listed as having produced in the year 2001 just 15.67 billion kWh. That would mean that even though we sometimes attain 3000 – 4000 MW power peak output - that is half- to two-thirds the maximum POWER rated – the actual energy output is 15.67/60 or more like one-quarter ! That is point number 1: that there is a difference between power available and energy delivered, and in fact we have SERIOUS energy KWASHIOKOR in that country of ours!
These observations however need to be qualified, bearing in mind that these figures do not include the various PRIVATE generators humming all over the country, all generating immeasurable PRIVATE electricity (and noise to boot) to homes, offices and industries. Nevertheless, the figures serve as a yardstick for measuring NEPA – both in terms of its competency and how far it still needs to go to achieve success as a electricity service provider.
Point Number 2 has to do with comparing our per capita production of electrical energy with that of other nations. In closely inspecting Table 3, you will notice that electrical energy production and usage are invariably close to each other, any difference between them being made up almost exactly by exported or imported quantities. This is because electrical energy, once produced or unused, cannot be stored as such. So let us focus only on electrical energy production – total and per capita.
On a purely market size basis (total energy production), US, China, Brazil and South Africa are the leaders in their respective geographical categories, with the US producing almost 570 billon kWh down to South Africa producing about 200 billion kWh in 2001. On a per-capita energy production basis (it is convenient to state it on a per million people basis here), Canada, Australia, Paraguay and again South Africa are the leaders, with Canada at 17.4 billion kWh per million people, and South Africa at 4.6 billion kWh per million people.
Nigeria’s stated figures are 15.67 billion kWh total energy production and 0.11 billion kWh per million people, which is roughly equivalent to having a constantly-running 11 MW of power station per million people, or a total of 1,500 MW for the country. You will also notice that if, for example, Nigeria were to produce electricity at the USA rate of 12.7 Billion kWh per million people - which is equivalent to having a 1,270 MW plant per million people (or 1.270 MW per thousand people) - then with a population of 137 million, we should have power plants totaling 174,000 MW. If, on the other hand, we were to compare ourselves with South Africa, we should have power plants totaling 63,000 MW, which is ten times what we have now. [South Africa is predicting that it will need 20,000 MW ADDITIONAL electrical power by 2022 ! Pretty scary…]
Similar comparisons can be made with other nations to serve as guidelines for developing our electrical energy production sector.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS HERE ?
NEPA officials, its watchers and energy experts have identified several problems with NEPA itself, namely:
(1) in generation
The fewness and sparse distribution of generation points relative to the size of the country presents a problem. The first problem is that clearly we have not invested sufficiently in total generating capacity, apparently being satisfied with present estimated demands rather than a visionary attitude that more electricity generates demand for even more. Secondly, the 8 generation stations – with more than half located along the coast and the rest along the midsection of the country – with a capacity of 6,000 MW is on average 750 MW per generating station. When one station shuts down or has a problem – due to poor water levels, disrupted fuel supply or turbine breakdown or outright sabotage - it takes down a whole portion of the country with it, with no possibility of convening the help of a nearby station.
Thus, on the whole, the average per-station power generated needs to be cut to no more than 100 MW by building smaller power plants (both private and private/public partnership) and distributing them more around the country.
(2) in transmission
The sparse geographical distribution of generation points also means that average distances over which electrical energy is distributed are high – anywhere from 300 – 500 kilometers. This results in line voltage and power losses – as high as 25% in Nigeria (compared with 3% in the US and 0.5% in Japan) – particularly since the grid voltages in Nigeria are typically 330 kV compared with increasingly 765 kV in developed countries [For a given power, the higher the grid line voltage, the smaller the grid current, and hence for a given length of wire, the smaller the line power loss by a power of two].
Distribution problems are compounded when electrical wires are stolen and power transformers (for stepping down and stepping up voltages along the way) are broken down.
Thus, reducing distribution distances, increasing the gridline voltages, improving security and maintenance culture are clear steps to be taken here.
(3) in distribution and marketing
At the end of the day, somebody must pay for the energy generated, and that should be the consumer – residential, commercial and industrial - to whom the electricity is distributed at the appropriate voltages (240 volts for residential and commercial users in Nigeria, and higher for some commercial and industrial users). As at June 2002, NEPA’s revenue customer base was put at about 3.05 million - 83% of which where residential, 16% commercial and 0.4% industrial. In a country that is 137 million, with 446 Local government areas (or 57.6%) out of 774 are connected to the national grid, and 35% of them having some connection to NEPA, that is a pitiful pitiful customer base.
Zero-voltage (blackouts), sustained low voltage (brown-outs) or frequent heavily fluctuating voltages have been the order of the day in the experience of Nigerians, making the desire to pay for such poor quality service quite understandably low. Poor recording of electricity use by customers, poor collection methods and outright fraud (payments not remitted to NEPA) have been major problems.
It would appear that the introduction of pre-payment methods will go a long way to solving these problems – but not those of “blackouts, brownouts and heavily-fluctuating voltages,” unless the increased revenue is appropriately re-directed !
UNBUNDLING NEPA – 6 GENCOS, 1 TRANSCO AND 11 DISCOS
In line with the Obasanjo regime’s mantra of liberalization and privatization, and complaint about large sums of money being spent on NEPA without measurable improvement, it has pledged to sell off NEPA to private hands, with the latest date (after many shifts) being sometime in 2005. As it waits for the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Bill presently with the National Assembly to be passed into law, it has recently unbundled NEPA into various 6 Generating Companies (Gencos) based around the present major generating plants, 1 Transmission Company and 6 Distribution Company (Discos), with these new business units being slated to be sold off to private hands as willing buyers come along. [See Table 4.]
One would have expected that both the six generating and eleven distribution companies should have been unbundled along the six geographic zones. Anyway, we live to see how this unbundling will ensure electricity at all – not to talk of constant one - in my Ode-Ekiti village !
WHAT EACH STATE IN NIGERIA SHOULD DO WITH RESPECT TO (ELECTRICAL) ENERGY
Each state or administrative unit in our country needs to adopt a clear energy policy if it is achieve any semblance of economic development. To fix ideas, let us consider a brief discussion of estimating the electricity demand in my Ekiti State as an example of such an energy policy.
I estimate that Ekiti State currently has a population of about 2.5 million people (1991 Census put us as 1.647 million; we were then part of Ondo State). If we compare ourselves with the US, then we would need 3,175 MW for Ekiti state; if it is with South Africa, we will need 1,150 MW. At the present capacity of Nigeria, we will need 27.5 MW. Currently, Ekiti State has ZERO power plant, and all of our electrical energy – all 5 – 10 MW of it - comes from far away Kainji hydro-Dam, and even that via Akure.
To my mind, I think that Ekiti State should aim for 5 - 10 times better than the average of Nigeria right now, so we should go for a 150 MW - 300 MW electric generating station.
What mix of energy sources – hydro, thermal, solar and wind - would supply such power to Ekiti State ? I have provided a sample in Table 5.
It may be controversial, but personally, I have added in a consideration for NUCLEAR REACTORS, which are not really as dangerous as they are cracked up to be in the press ! However, traditional pressurized water (nuclear) reactors (PWR) produce energy of the order of 1,000 MW, which would be too big (and costly) for Ekiti State for the conceivable future.
US Nuclear Energy generation
Nuclear Reactors in the United States
However, one or two new micro-nuclear reactors (some Pebble Bed Modular Reactors PMBR are being developed in South Africa, at 110 MW each) could supply all that we need in Ekiti State without requiring oil and gas transportation from the Niger-Delta to Ekiti, without too much nuclear accident endangerment.
Development of South Africa nuclear PBMR
I admit that micro-nuclear reactor deployment is still some many years off, after all the proper research is done, but we should continue to keep an eye on it and have Nigerian academics ENGAGE in meaningful research on it in our Energy Research Centers.
Now, with regard to energy from renewables such as solar and wind, one cannot REALISTICALLY expect to generate more than 10% of our energy requirements, so I have distributed them evenly (5% each) in Table 5. Being left with Hydro and Thermal sources, since we have no large water falls (but a few dams) in Ekiti State, their distributions have been made 20%-70% Hydro-Thermal.
The upshot of all the above is that for Ekiti State, a mix of 2 Thermal Units (to make a total of approximately 200 MW) and 1 Hydro unit (of equivalent of 100 MW; from various micro-dams) will be what we need, staged and financed in any way that we can afford.
Similar considerations can be made by other states.
Electrical energy is the most mobile and versatile form of energy, and its good quality and quality are absolutely essential for economic and technological development. Until and unless we get its generation, transmission and distribution/marketing right, no amount of effort in attracting foreign direct investment into the country will yield the kind of positive results that we want.
Towards a Comprehensive Energy Policy: From Wood to Hydrogen
[Distinguished Alumni talk to the OAU Faculty of Technology]
Mobolaji E. Aluko
March 15, 2004
Expanding NEPA's Generation Capacity: Dream Or Reality?
This Day (Lagos) - ANALYSIS
December 6, 2004
Nigerian Government (NEPA)* Electric Power Generating plants
*Lagos station @ Egbin
1985 – 1987
6 x 220 MW reheat steam turbo-electric units
*Sapele station @ Ogorode
GT, ST (gas)
1978 - 1981
6 x 120 MW steam (ST)
4 x 75 MW GT
Delta IV @ Ughelli
1966 - 1990
( 912 ?)
Including 6 x 100 MW
1978 – 1982
( 971 ?)
After AFAM I, II, III, IV
*Ijora station Lagos
3 units x 20 MW
(2 units working)
1968 – 1978
( 580 ?)
4 units x 80 MW
2 x 100 MW
2 x 120 MW
1989 – 1990
1983 – 1984
( 576 ?)
6 x 90 MW
Lagos IPP (Enron/AES)
Maximum planned is
** GT - Open Cycle Gas Turbine; ST – Steam plant
* Nigerian Electric Power Authority (NEPA) with:
• 5 transmission regions, 7 operational generating stations and 10 distribution zones
• 3 hydro power stations with combined installed capacity of 1930MW
• 6 thermal power stations with combined capacity of 3972MW
• National Grid consists of 5000Km of 330KV line major transmission subs it
• 6000Km of 132KV lines
• Transmission backbone consisting of 4,534km of 330kv lines with 19 major transmission substations
• Total major 330KV transformer capacity of 5,526MVA
New NEPA Electric Power Generating plants Being Planned
Stated Cost (US$ Mill.)
Stated Cost (billion N)
Gas Use (mmscfd)
150 MW [GT]
300 - 400MW [GT]
(@ Ajaokuta), Kogi State
Mmscfd – million standard cubic feet per day
ELECTRICAL ENERGY PRODUCTION & CONSUMPTION (& OTHER DATA)
[Source: CIA Fact-book Website, December 2004]
[July 2004 estimate]
1. Kanji / Jebba
1. National Transmission
8. Port- Harcourt
Table 5: Summary outline of Proposed Energy Mix for Ekiti State
Amount to be Provided
Comments (Pros & Cons)
Hydro (including micro)
Without large water fall, mostly micro
8 – 20
Feasible, roughly 100MW per thermal station
}Do not expect more than
} 10% renewables total
General Capacity of 1000 MW
too large for Ekiti needs (unless micro-)
Total for Ekiti State
150 - 300 MW ?
Should aim for 5 to 10 times the present per capita energy production of Nigeria (ie aim for total of 150 - 300 MW)
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