Don canvasses adoption of Super Grid to solve power challenges
Notwithstanding the failures of the past, the Federal Government has been urged to reconsider the option as one of the viable stimulants for growth in the power sector. The Super Grid is a hub of power transmission station with a wide area transmission network that makes it possible to trade high volumes of electricity across great distances.
Prof. Frank Okafor of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, who made the recommendation at the 2017 Public Lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, said the super grid has the unique capacity for high voltage direct current transmission.
It also has the capacity to transmit power at 750KV Alternate Current (AC) coupled with insulation power put at 765KV, and its uniqueness for loss reduction in transmission. This is in addition to having the capacity for bulk power transfer from remote generating stations in the South-South to the North, the system should be utilised as a more cost effective means of bulk power transfer in Nigeria.
Okafor is also a Commissioner, Engineering Standards and Safety, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), spoke on the topic: “Improving Electricity Power Sector Performance: The Role of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.”
He said through comparism between bulk power transmission using High Voltage Alternate Current (HVAC) and High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), findings have shown that the technology is superior to HVAC in terms of better voltage and current profiles, lower losses of up to 30per cent and relatively steady efficiency over very long distances.
“Beyond superiority in performance, HVDC grid stability is assured while the cycle cost is lower than an equivalent HVAC system. Contemporary advances in converter/inverter technologies, circuit breaking/arc quenching systems as well as AC to DC conversion have enhanced HVDC application. Therefore, this report strongly recommends HVDC transmission as a more cost effective means of bulk power transfer in Nigeria.”
Okafor explained that beyond low investments by the new owners of national power assets, especially at the distribution end which makes it difficult for available power to get to the customers. Other factors like market indiscipline, and poor power sector coordination were identified as impediments to the growth of the National Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
“For the success of the privatisation programme, the new NERC must be fair but firm. Gencos must run their generating units on free governing principles so as to bring down frequency to the statutory +/-0.5 per cent of 50Hz. Discos must take the allocated load and strive further to meet all the performance contracts signed at inception especially on customer metering and network expansion to reduce ATC and C losses,” he stated.
According to him, disobedience to instruction by the System Operators and Market Operators must be adequately penalised together with violations of the provisions of all the market rules, transmission code as well as distribution code.
He added that ancillary services contracts must be enforced including those of spinning reserve while Nigerians must support the power sector recovery programme, as part of a genuine effort by the Minister of Power, works and Housing, and his team to enhance growth in the sector.