The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has expressed concern about the over-dependence on gas-fired power plants for the generation of electricity in the country.
NERC, in its latest quarterly report, said gas-fired thermal plants dominated the electricity generation mix, accounting for 81 per cent of the energy generated in the first quarter of this year.
It said, “This implies that approximately 4kWh of every 5kWh of electricity generated in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018 came from gas. The share of hydro-generation decreased from 23 per cent to 19 per cent between the two quarters.”
According to the regulator, the recorded decline in electricity generated from hydropower plants is attributed to seasonal factor and turbine pit flooding incident in Shiroro dam.
The nation has three hydropower plants, namely Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro, while 24 are gas-fired.
“The commission is concerned that the apparent over-dependence on gas-fired/thermal plants may pose supply risk for the Nigerian electricity industry as vandalism of gas pipelines could result in total shutdown of the grid,” NERC said in the report.
It said during the first quarter of 2018, available generation capacity rose by three per cent to 7,477 megawatts but just 53 per cent of the available capacity was utilised.
The regulator stated, “This implies that approximately 47 per cent of the available capacity was stranded during the first quarter of 2018 due to a combination of factors including inadequate gas supply, limitation in transmission and distribution networks, and water management.
“There was a noticeable increase in gas constraint during the quarter under review, relative to the last quarter of 2017. Specifically, the generation capacity constraints due to gas supply increased from a daily average of 541MW during the fourth quarter of 2017 to 1,925.4MW in the first quarter 2018.”
NERC noted that gas shortage in the quarter was exacerbated by a fire incident on the Escravos Lagos Pipeline of the Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company Limited, which affected six thermal power plants, including Egbin, Omotosho and Olorunsogo plants.
It said, “Also, during the quarter, some generation companies including Geregu experienced high quantity of condensate in the pipeline, limiting the quantity of usable gas supplied to them.
“Noticeably, the decline in electricity generation due to gas constraint was very significant when compared to the constraints attributed to poor transmission and distribution networks. These later factors respectively accounted for 84.3MW and 452.3MW of stranded capacity while water management accounted for 134MW.”