Nigeria’s power sector plans to expand its transmission network in order to have the capacity to evacuate approximately 10000MW capability by the end of 2017. By the end of 2020, the sector wants to double this figure.
To develop the infrastructure to support this growth, the company needs an estimated US$1.1 billion per year. This is according to Mack Kast, managing director and CEO of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, who spoke to Engerati at the recent Africa Energy Forum. Mr Kast, associated with Manitoba Hydro International, is on contract with the Transmission Company of Nigeria for three years.
Says Kast, “Nigeria has 167 million people. The opportunity is immense and the work ahead of us is immense but we feel that we are well-positioned to make this happen.”
While the company’s aim is to power the whole country, Kast says that the grid won’t reach everyone, especially in the isolated and rural areas. It is for this reason that Kast supports off-grid power production.
Another critical part of the power plan is the interconnection of lines between neighbouring countries since it increases Nigeria’s grid supply and it improves reliability, explains Kast. Of course, the same would apply for the interconnecting countries. “A reciprocal agreement is very useful,” he points out.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria has just completed a five year expansion plan which falls within the 20 year master plan which is currently being worked on. Back-up lines have been built to improve the reliability of power supply. Currently, the single line structure is not working effectively with regards to reliability. Single points of failure cause outages therefore additional back-up lines have been built to improve reliability of power transmission.
“We have already improved network reliability-last year the Company’s transmission system experienced 22 collapses. This year, thus far, the Company has experienced only four system collapses. Line looping makes a huge difference to system reliability.”
Their SCADA system has also allowed the Company to monitor lines in real-time and full time. The system is able to pinpoint failures very quickly. “We can look for (and deal with) problems before they occur. Thick bush and growth can cause failures in remote areas-it is therefore important to keep an eye on operations all the time.”