Adebayo Adelabu, Nigeria’s power minister, has harped on the need to create an improved partnership between the public and private sectors to address critical issues in the Nigerian power sector.
The minister made the call during a session with energy journalists recently, noting that the numerous challenges in the power sector have led to frequent power outages, fluctuations in electricity generation, and in some cases complete grid collapse.
The minister, who was represented by Nosike E.N, the director of the transmission services department in the power ministry, said that the government has set an ambitious target to generate about 30,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity by 2030 with renewable energy contributing 30 percent to Nigeria’s energy mix.
However, he acknowledged that Nigeria’s current power sector infrastructure cannot effectively generate the much-needed electricity for the country.
He said that the reason for this was that Nigeria currently has a low power generation, transmission, and distribution capacity of about 5,625MW, 8,500MW, and 8,425MVA respectively, which are inadequate to reach the targeted power generation of 20,00OMW in the short-term.
Adelabu expressed concerns over these issues, adding that the power sector was faced with multiple challenges which also comprise insufficient generation capacity, tripping of transmission lines, vandalisation of power infrastructure, high frequency due to low demand for power, and aging infrastructure.
Speaking specifically on the challenges and government interventions, the minister said that the insufficient power generation in Nigeria is due to outdated power plants, underinvestment in new generation infrastructure, and over-reliance on fossil fuels such as gas/steam and diesel.
“The interruption in electricity supply is a result of sudden outage in the transmission line which may be as a result of overloading, overheating of insulation, and faulty substation equipment.
“Vandalisation of power infrastructure is a significant challenge in Nigeria’s Power Network. Criminal elements, sometimes intentionally damage power lines, transformers, and other equipment associated with low levels of surveillance and security on all electrical infrastructures.
“High frequency due to low demand for power is often referred to as “over-frequency” or “over generation” and it occurs when the power supply exceeds the demand on the grid. Its effect can be felt in the overloading of generators and transformers, loss of synchronisation, and frequency instability. When the frequency goes up, the machine output reduces, and vice versa,” he said.