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Experts attribute improved electricity supply to rising sea levels

Experts attribute improved electricity supply to rising sea levels. Nigerians across the country are currently experiencing improved power supply. A recent article from Nairametrics provided a number of reasons why power supply has improved lately.

However, rising sea levels are cited as a major contributor to improved power supply, especially for the country’s hydropower generation. During Nigeria’s rainy season (April to October), hydropower shores up the power supply in the country.

Effect of rising sea levels on hydropower generation

Engr. Hafeez Tijani, an Assistant Manager at Kainji Hydro Power Plant, Mainstream Energy Solutions, says that the higher the lake water level, the greater the potential to create the required mechanical torque expected by the hydropower turbines. So as the lake level drops, the unit generating capability drops.

Tijani told Nairametrics that improved power supply will continue into the dry season if only the provided status quo is maintained and all stakeholders play their roles diligently.

“In hydropower plants, dams are meant to store water which serves as fuel and this is used over a period with low station water inflow. These dams have capacities which can serve adequately over the period of low or no rainfall, however, this is subject to an effective water management system,” he said.

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According to Tijani, hydropower plants still contribute less than 35% of the electricity generation on the grid. But with good coordination of generating companies, this improvement will not only be sustained but further improved upon.

“However, issues like gas shortage to thermal plants and shortfall in revenue to the gencos are currently sending the wrong signals to investors in the sector and should be addressed,” Tijani stated.

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According to data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), revenue shortfalls owed to power generating companies (Gencos) by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, for hydro and gas supply as of 2020 is N437, 665, 154, 988.14 trillion.

Paradox of scarcity in plenty

Data made available to Nairametrics by the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), on power generation trends in the last five years, from 2018 to 2022 showed the following;

In 2018, available generation capacity was 7,506.23 Megawatts, average utilized generation was 3,807.72 Megawatts and unutilized generation was 3,698.51 Megawatts (49.27%), leaving an annual capacity payment loss of N264.08 billion.

In 2019, available generation capacity was 7,381.67 Megawatts, average utilized generation was 3, 782.00 Megawatts, and unutilized generation was 3,599.00 Megawatts (48.76%), leaving an annual capacity payment loss of N256.97 billion.

In 2020, available generation capacity was 7,792.51 Megawatts, average utilized generation was 4,050.07 Megawatts and unutilized generation was 3,742.43 Megawatts (48.03%), leaving an annual capacity payment loss of N266.10 billion.

In 2021, available generation capacity was 6,336.52 Megawatts, average utilized generation was 4,118.98 Megawatts, and unutilized generation was 2,248.50 Megawatts (35.48%), leaving an annual capacity payment loss of N159.86 billion.

From January to July 2022, available generation capacity was 5,614.43 Megawatts, average utilized generation was 3,802.09 Megawatts and unutilized generation was 1,812.34 Megawatts (10.99%), leaving an annual capacity payment loss of N76.93 billion.

In the last five years, generating companies recorded a total capacity loss of N1,023.94 trillion.

It is important to note that these losses accrued over the last five years, there are other losses prior to 2018.

What this means

In a brief chat with Nairametrics, Dr. Joy Ogaji, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Power Generation Companies, held an opposing view as to improved power generation. She revealed that Nigeria has been circling around 4000 Megawatts since 2012.

This just adds credence to the idea that rising sea levels could be the reason for the current improved power supply in the country.

Dr. Ogaji told Nairametrics that generating a capacity of 4000 Megawatts should not be seen as an improvement.

“What improvement? Supply is yet abysmal due to the perennial problems of the sector. The availability of power generation when compared to what is utilized over the years, shows the paradox of scarcity in plenty.

“By international standards, 1000MW should be for one million people. Hence, the 4000 Megawatts we are celebrating is meant for just four million people, leaving out 212 million Nigerians in darkness. Why then do we celebrate? We should declare a day of mourning,” Dr Ogaji said.

Bottomline

Perennial problems in the power sector as stated by Dr. Ogaji range from liquidity issues to distribution and transmission problems.

  • Generating companies can generate the amount of power needed in the country, but these issues prevent optimal performance in Nigeria’s power sector.
  • As the rainy season wraps up from October 2022, there is risk that the level of power supply being generated in the country could be negatively impacted.
  • When this occurs, it could reduce the level of improved electricity availability being enjoyed across the country.
  • For now, the higher the sea levels the better the power situation in the country.

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