‘Nigeria needs micro-grids to be efficient’
A move to a more distributed energy model will go a long way in meeting energy demands in Nigeria more effectively, Eaton has said.
The energy firm said currently, only between 40 to 50 per cent of Nigerians have access to electricity, of which the Nigerian electricity/ power system suffers from reliability with an average of 4,600 power outages hours per year, with high electricity costs.
Senior Application Leader, Microgrid Energy Systems, Eaton, Bunty Kiremire, in an interview, said: “Micro grid proliferation in a market like Nigeria will solve these three challenges. It is an opportunity to bring sufficient, cost-effective and reliable electricity to a large number of people.”
Micro grid is a set of energy resources that either can allow you to seamlessly transfer from a utility supply to your local supply; or the ability to start up itself.
He added: “In Nigeria, the backbone of the electricity supply is isolated diesel generators. So as an example if you use utility an individual has to realise that the utility has gone, physically go down to a changeover switch, start up the generator set, when the utility comes back again that individual repeats a similar process to turn off the generator set.“ hat is a highly inefficient micro grid with a human being as part of the feedback loop.”
Speaking on how micro grids can solve energy challenges in Nigeria, Kiremire said: “Generation units, which are closer to the load and to the customer can be built. This will avoid investment in long transmission and distribution networks and solve the issue of access to electricity.
“Micro grids will provide multiple sources of energy that can be coupled to the source of the utility supply.
The cost of power reduces as we integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy (solar PV specifically, being the cheapest source over its lifetime).
“If we compare this to diesel generation which is currently the backbone of electricity supply in Nigeria, costs will be reduced.”
According to him, there is going to be a significant business case to increase renewable sources and micro grids in the country, particularly in the area of distributed energy.
“Nigeria has close to 20,000 megawatts of power produced by diesel or gas generators. This is provides a clear opportunity for introducing or combining the existing capacity into micro grids as well. This will also optimise the cost of energy and allow faster electrification of communities the grids could not access previously.
If micro grid projects continue to meet analyst estimates, we will be relying more on stored and renewable energy,” the Eaton official noted.