Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Power generation companies (GenCos) have lamented the frequent grid collapse across the country, noting that the nation has witnessed 34 such incidents in a spate of three years.
According to the GenCos’ bulletin, ‘GenCos Heartbeat’, disruption as a result of grid breakdown is antithetical to the growth of the power sector.
For instance, 2016 recorded a total of 28 grid collapses from March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November and December.
In 2017, over six collapses occurred on January 15, 16, 18, 25, 26, 27.
Similarly, in 2018, six grid collapses were seen on January 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 whereas in 2019, four grid collapses happened on January 3, 18, 19, and 25.
On February 20 , one collapse was recorded and in March, nill. But on April 15, one collapse was recorded while two collapses were noticed on May 8 and 9.
The causes include, ageing network, obsolete substations equipment, overloading of certain transmission corridors, poor operations and maintenance of the grid. Other causes are frequent roaming engendered by either load rejection or uninstructed generation/ overload.
“While the first stage solution is compulsory for all GenCos, that is, operating on free governor mode (FGM) in accordance with the grid code specification to enable effective control of the frequency accordingly. The second stage solution is calling up of ‘spinning reserve’ from the incentivised providers”, the statement by the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr Joy Ogaji, said in a statement.
Ogaji said that the constant disruption of the grid portends a network plagued with huge infrastructural challenges.
According to her, research has shown that outages/ grid collapses occur when there are system disturbances along the transmission grid.
“Such disturbances could include a massive drop of load from a substation that would cause the grid to become unstable. This could be solved in most cases with adequate spinning reserve in place” she said.
Experts, she averred, have advised that the Nigerian grid requires up to 400mw of spinning reserve procured currently in the market notwithstanding Transmission Company of Nigeria’s (TCN) constant reminders to the regulator (NERC) to procure about 260mw which, though below the estimated figure, could be a starting point.
The Executive Secretary, however, noted that as a solution for the collapse, no component of the power system should function outside its designed safe operating range. “System operations must not only expect the evolution of the system but also the consequence of a predefined set of credible contingencies” she said.