NDPHC new switching station to wheel power from East to North
Commissioning the switchyard project the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said the switching station comprised three double circuit lines that stretched over 287 kilometres and will energise the Ikot Ekpene-Calabar, Ikot Ekpene-Alaoji, and Ikot-Ekpene-Ugwuaji Transmission Lines.
Fashola, who said the project is meant to increase transmission grid capacity, added that the completion of the switching station is evidence that the transmission capacity is not static at 5000 megawatts, MW, as being speculated.
The Minister explained that all the power plants in the Eastern Region have combined capacity of 1,846MW comprising Calabar 561MW; in Alaoji 450MW; Ibom Power 185MW; and Afam VI 650MW. Before now, he said they were producing at 100MW each for the first three power plants respectively, and 300MW at Afam VI, all totalling 600MW.
He added that with the commissioning of the Ikot Ekpene Switching Station, there will be incremental output until full capacity is available to add an extra 1,246MW to the grid, and commended the management of NDPHC team for the successful execution of the project.
Fashola speaking on gas supply and transmission challenges, said: “You have heard the story of stranded power. That is power that is present because the plant exists but has no gas. That is true, and Government is working to facilitate gas access to those plants such as Calabar, where the Vice-President led the signing of a guarantee agreement to ensure gas supply to that plant.
“The other side of stranded power are plants that cannot produce to their full capacity because there is no transmission line to evacuate the power to the DisCos for sale to consumers. Calabar falls in this category, so does Alaoji Power Plant, Ibom Power Plant and Afam VI Power plant.
“What this means is that we are focused on progressing on our primary and short term goal of getting incremental power anywhere and everywhere, and committed to achieving the target set out by Mr. President in the short term.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer NDPHC, Chiedu UgboUgbo, listed the components of the facilities that were commissioned to include:
· 35KM 330kV Alaoji Substation to Ikot-Ekpene Substation Double Circuit line to evacuate power from NIPP Alaoji Power Plant;
· 70.3KM 330kV Double Circuit line from Calabar to Ikot Ekpene to evacuate power from NIPP Calabar Power Plant;
· 162km 330kV Double Circuit line to evacuate all power arriving from Ikot Ekpene switching Station to the grid at Ugwuaji, and;
· the 12 circuit Ikot Ekpene 330kV Switching Station to serve as the central switching hub for receiving generated power from four generating locations at Alaoji, Afam, Calabar and Ikot-Abasi respectively.
Ugbo explained that the Switching Station will wheel all the power to the grid via the 330kV Double Circuit lines to Ugwuaji, New Haven and the rest of the grid connecting Makurdi and Jos in the north central zone of the country.
He recalled that the projects started in 2006, but were delayed due to disruptions in NIPP funding in 2008, and numerous community and way leave issues some of which dragged into protracted court cases, but the Federal Government’s intervention paved the way for the completion and commissioning of the project.
Ugbo identified three critical benefits of the entire transmission networks to include the increased reliability of the national grid, relief and stability of heavily loaded lines, and making more paths available for power in the face of contingencies.
He added that more exchanges between parties in the nation’s energy market will now become possible due to availability of new transmission paths.
The Deputy Governor of Awka Ibom State, Moses Frank Ekpo, who represented the Governor, Udom Emmanuel, expressed the state’s delight in the federal government’s completion of the Switching Station.
He however lamented that the people of the community and Akwa Ibom State in general, will not benefit from the project in terms of improved quality of power supply. This is because the station has no transformer to drop the load, but rather, will receive power from all the power stations (Alaoji, Afam, Calabar, Ikot Abasi) and wheel same to Ugwuaji in Enugu up to Makurdi and Jos.