• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tough times, tough people

FG targets 1,268MW boost from eight new power plants

The world seems to be stumbling from one crisis to the other. Global pandemic has resulted to dramatic changes on how we conduct our daily activities. There is equally global uncertainties, political and social turmoil as well as a catalogue of natural and man-made disasters.

Individuals are going through tough times to deal with unemployment, insecurity and poverty while many countries are going through high inflationary pressures. For many in the world, this is a time of unprecedented struggle and upheaval.

This is a time we all need to build resilience which can help us better cope with life-changing events, cope with turbulent times, and bounce back from hardship. This will require Africans to do the needful urgently.

In sub-Saharan Africa, just one person in five is recorded to have access to electricity. And if current trends continue, a research report shows that fewer than 40 percent of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050

As I write, some public intellectuals are concerned about Africa’s chronic power problems which have escalated into a crisis affecting 30 countries. This trend if not stopped, according to analysts, tolls heavily on economic growth and productivity.

“The entire installed generation capacity of Africa’s sub-Saharan countries is just 68 GigaWatts, no more than Spain’s.” Experts believe that as much as one-quarter of that capacity is unavailable because of aging plants and poor maintenance.

South Africa’s energy crisis deepens, CNN January 18, 2023

South Africans have endured power cuts for years but 2022 was the worst on record with 205 days of rolling blackouts, as aging coal-fired power plants broke down and state-owned power utility Eskom struggled to find the money to buy diesel for emergency generators.

So far this year, there have been outages every day. The situation worsened again last week when Eskom said it would implement more cuts because of breakdowns at 11 coal-fired generating units. Years of mismanagement and systematic corruption are believed to be a key reason why the state utility has been unable to keep the lights on.

“Load shedding” — as it’s known locally — was escalated to level 6, which entails removing 6,000 megawatts (MW) worth of power from the grid in order to rebalance demand and supply. This can result in outages lasting 4.5 hours at a time and totaling 12 hours a day for households and businesses. At peak times, demand in South Africa averages between 28,000 MW and 34,000 MW.

Loadshedding is hobbling small businesses and jeopardizing economic growth in a country with an unemployment rate of 33%. South African bank Nedbank estimates that GDP could be two percentage points higher in the absence of the electricity constraints.

But 15 years after construction started, these plants are only delivering about half of their 9,600 MW combined capacity because of breakdowns, technical defects, completion delays and accidents.

Despite an abundance of sunshine and wind, South Africa still derives about 80% of its electricity from coal. The country also has one nuclear power station.

The contribution from solar, wind and hydro power amounted to 13.4% of the total energy mix in the first half of 2022, according to South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

S’Africa disconnects Nigerian consulate electricity over unpaid bills, Punch January 19, 2023

The Nigerian consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa is currently experiencing a power outage due to the humongous electricity bill owed by the diplomatic mission leading to disconnection.

Despite being denied access to the consulate, Johannesburg City Power heads came with the Metro Police Department to effect the disconnection of the power supply.

A local online platform, IOL, on Wednesday, quoted the City Power spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, as saying, “The Nigerian consulate-general has been defaulting since last year but they promised to clear up the bill by January after the disconnection.

“The consul-general visited our Service Delivery Centre in Alexandra, and agreed to pay the deposit, with the rest to be paid by the end of the month,” said Mangena.

26 power plants suffer capacity drop in Nigeria.” Punch, January 19,2023

The capacities of 26 power-generating plants out of 29 in the country have dropped by 26 per cent, while three were totally down, unable to generate a single megawatt.

According to data sourced from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the drop in output occurred from January 2019 to December 2022.

The data showed that 26 power plants as of January 2021, had a combined capacity to generate 5859MW of electricity, but dropped to 4522MW as of December 2022.

The power plants affected were Afam-IV-V, Alaoji NIPP, Azura Edo, Delta, Egbin, GBARAIN, Geregu, GereguNIPP, Ibom Power, Ihovbor NIPP and Jebba amongst others.

……All stakeholders were resolute on abiding by the contract geared towards delivering at least 5,000MW of electricity to Nigerians. “The discussion is ongoing right now on the partial activation of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract. The outcome is going to be for the good of Nigeria.”

A metering expert, Sesan Okunade, told our reporter that power generation was not what Nigeria should be battling to solve at the moment.

“We have generated more than this before that have been sold to neighbouring countries. Our problem is transmission and the Disco whose infrastructure is not capable of distributing the supply if more power is transmitted from Genco. Some of the reasons for system collapse is the excess kilowatt not being collected by Disco due to the technical and commercial loss,” he explained.

He said Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) should mandate the Discos on a good connection policy devoid of the “curb web” currently in the network so that energy would be well accounted for, adding that this would assist in determining what should be transmitted to a particular Disco.

“Good connection policy and investment in transformers to replace the obsolete one will assist in what is being generated to be effectively received by Discos.” he further noted.

National President, the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, Chijioke James, said Nigerian consumers were told years ago that the generation capacity is over 6,000MW.

“We are, therefore, surprised that NERC was still promising delivery of 5,000MW.”

Power outage disrupts APC rally, stops Buhari, Tinubu’s speeches, punch January 24, 2023

“The presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress in Bauchi State which commenced at 1150 am was brought to an abrupt end by power outage on Monday. As the rally was going on at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, the power supply ceased and the sound system went off. All efforts to restore the power supply failed. There was equally an outage when the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu, was making his speech at 12.20pm.

Read also: Husk Power secures $750,000 to expand solar microgrid business in Nigeria, India

“President Buhari was to officially present the APC candidates to the Bauchi electorate at the rally, from where he would depart for Lagos on a two-day working visit. But after waiting in vain for power to be restored, the president marched to the podium and raised Tinubu, Shettima and the Bauchi State governorship candidate, Sadique Abubakar’s hands as a sign of endorsement.

He also went round the podium to show Tinubu and his running mate to the thousands of supporters who were becoming restless.”

While that was going on, the technical team was running up and down trying to fix the outage but they could not. President Buhari, who subsequently left the stadium without delivering any speech, waved to the crowd as he headed toward his vehicle.”

“The rally ended shortly after the President’s departure.”

In sub-Saharan Africa, just one person in five is recorded to have access to electricity. And if current trends continue, a research report shows that fewer than 40 percent of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do! Thank you.