Riccardo Ridolfi

In West Africa, Nigeria’s power generation continues to be unstable, a situation that has obligated almost every Nigerian to have an emergency power supply when generation drops.

On Monday, electricity generation dropped to 3,233MW, down from 4,500MW recorded last week due to gas constraints, the Guardian reported.

The media made reference of a report by the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), which stated that the sector lost 2,885MW estimated at N1.385 million ($4,544) on 14 January 2017, caused by gas constraints.

The frequent occurrence of the output drop in the nation’s power sector has resulted in every home or corporate organisation depending on generators for their electricity and energy needs.

The Guardian also reported that a daily operational report from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the system operator, said that on 15 January 2017, Jebba 2G5 was shut down due to water management.

It added that Okpai GT11 has also been out due to a flame monitor problem, while Omoku GT3 was shut down due to gas constrains. TCN added that Okpai ST18 has been out due to a hydraulic valve problem.

Gas supplies intensified

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said a total of 528 million metric standard cubic feet/day (mmscfd) of gas was delivered to the thermal power plants in November 2016. This generated an average power capacity of nearly 2,344MW compared with December 2015 to November 2016, which had an average gas supply of 538 mmscfd and power generation of 2,409MW.

According to the media, NESI insisted that improving Nigeria's electricity generation is a key factor to resolving the power shortage, noting that the ongoing refurbishment of existing generation plants and construction of new gas-fired power plants would help.

“However, building more generation capacity alone is not enough; it needs to be supported upstream with improved gas availability and downstream with additional transmission capacity,” it added.

Projects to improve electricity generation

It is reported that the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the new projects, once completed, would address the issue of unstable electricity supply.

The minister said 2016 remained a peak year with electricity generation of 4,010MW, despite 3,000MW lost to gas pipe vandalism in the Niger Delta areas.

Fashola listed the ongoing projects to include the 215MW Kaduna Power (gas); 40MW Kashimbila Power (hydro); 40MW Gurara 1 Power (hydro); 29MW Dadin Kowa Power (hydro); 10MW Katsina Power (wind), 1,125MW (14 solar plants); and the 240MW emergency power project for Afam (gas).