About 12 power projects in the country, with cumulative construction value of N4.637 trillion and installed capacity of over 6,000 megawatts (MW) have either been abandoned by the operators or remained idle since completion. This is amid the country’s struggle to generate less than 4,000MW daily for consumers.
Besides, about 15 power units in various plants across the country were unable to generate electricity on August 9 due to gas and frequency management constraints which resulted in unutilised capacity of over 2,261.8 MW.
Plant operators attribute poor generation to gas shortages and their huge debt burden to producers. The plants are starved of gas because many generating companies (GenCos) are indebted to the producers to the tune of N155 billion ($500 million) between January 2015 and December 2016. As a result, gas producers prefer to channel their product for export to get good value.
Also, transmission challenges make it difficult for the little output from the Gencos to be evacuated because the national grid is not strong enough to wheel all the power generated.
Specifically, six out of the 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs), valued at $7.5billion (N2.287trillion) are hampered by lack of gas, while the rest valued at N2.348billion were put on hold due to funding challenges.
According to data from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the power units that were not able to produce electricity on August 9 included Geregu Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) Gas Turbin (GT)22; Omotosho Gas GT2, GT3 and GT4; and Alaoji NIPP GT1 & 4.
Others are Olorunsogo Gas GT5; Egbin ST2; Gbarain GT2; Afam VI GT13 & ST18; Geregu NIPP GT22; Ihovbor GT1 & 2; Olorunsogo NIPP GT1 & 3; Omotosho Gas GT4 & 5; Geregu Gas GT1; Olorunsogo Gas GT2, 4 & 7 and Omotosho NIPP GT2.
The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry Statistics (NESI) analysis revealed that the nation’s inability to utilise 6,000MW represents a daily loss of N2.568 billion to the economy. The sum could have been used to upgrade infrastructure in the electricity sector, noted for being the biggest debtor to the nation’s banks.
The country lost N1.199 billion for not utilising about 2,498 MW of electricity on July 30th due to transmission and frequency management constraints.With regard to the idle plants, the 270MW capacity AES Barge IPP completed since 2001 is not operational, just as the 726MW Afam IV-V Power Station completed in 1982 and 2002.
Calabar 561MW and the Egbema 338MW plants have been idle for almost five years after completion, as is the case with 225MW-capacity Omoku II. The contract for the 215MW Kaduna power project awarded in 2009 was to be completed within 36 months, but it is experiencing some delay.
The alternative power projects are not spared as the completion of the 10MW Katsina Wind Plant has been stalled. The N4.4 billion project was awarded to a French company in 2010 and scheduled for completion in 2012, but it is still awaiting completion. Similarly, the 1,000MW Enugu coal plant, the MoU of which was signed in September 2014 between the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and HTG-Pacific Energy at the cost of $3.7billion is yet to take off.
Also, the $4billion Delta State 2,500MW IPP which started since 2015 and was scheduled for completion within 13 months is yet to record significant progress. The 136MW Trans-Amadi plant is not yet feeding the grid. The Phase 1 consists of a 3x12MW Solar Mars Gas Turbines commissioned in 2002, and Phase 2 consists of 4x25MW Nuovo Pignone frame 5 Gas Turbines commissioned in 2009. Two of the Phase 2 turbines were procured in 2004, and the remaining two were purchased in 2005.
Due to the weaknesses of the transmission network, a number of projects were initiated by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to fortify the grid, but are yet to be completed.These projects include the construction of new Abeokuta-Igboora double transmission line and 132kv double-circuit Tee-off at Igboora-Igangan; construction of 2x60MVA, 132/33kV substation at Odogunyan and construction of 2x60MVA, 132/33kV substation at Auobo. There are also the Ikeja West Ayobo 132kV D/C transmission lines and 2x132kv line bays extension at Ikeja west; and construction of Benin North-Osogbo 330KV DC line with turning in and out to new Akure substation.
Others are construction of Kaduna-Jos 330KV DC line in Plateau and Kaduna states; installation of 1x60MVA & 132/33kv power transformers, auxiliary equipment and devices at GCM transmission substation in Onitsha; and construction of 330KV and the D/C Kaduna Power Plant-Mando Substation Transmission Line.
On the transmission weaknesses, the Interim Managing Director of TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed, said the company planned to reconstruct the existing single circuit Kaduna to Kano line. This would be upgraded to a 330KV double circuit line using quad conductor design which would effectively quadruple the power wheeling capacity of the existing line from 600MW to 2400MW, first of its kind in Nigeria.TCN also plans to build a bigger transmission system based on the expanding need of power to Kano and environs.
He said the performance of the new transmission lines already constructed or under construction would depend on the completion of the Kaduna-Kano 330KV; Kano-Katsina 330KV, Katsina-Daura 132KV, Kano-Hadeja 132 KV, and the Kano-Duste-Azare 132KV Transmission Lines.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had admitted that “some generating units are out of service due to lack of relatively minor repairs. Some power plants have been unable to undertake these minor repairs and/or required maintenance due to lack of funding.
“Minor repairs and maintenance, combined can unlock up to 1,700MW of existing installed generation capacity for dispatch. These are relatively easy fixes that can increase capacity at minimal costs.”
On the idleness of the plants, the spokesman for the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Yakubu Lawal, said some of the projects, which are not yet generating electricity, are still under construction, while the completed plants that are not generating electricity are complaining of gas supply and transmission challenges.
“If a power plant has four units available and there is gas, it is only the TCN that can guarantee what the plant can generate. If the TCN can only take power from two units, the plant can only generate from two units because if TCN takes from all the four units, the system will collapse,” he said.
But disregarding the supply complaints, the Group Spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ndu Ughamadu, said the daily average natural gas supply to the plants had risen by 64 per cent.
He put the average gas supply at 729 million standard cubic feet/daily (mmscfd) in May 2017, 63.74 per cent higher than the 446mmscfd supplied a year ago. If this is the case, it means there is something much more than gas supply that is keeping the thermal stations from generating electricity.