Nigeria’s lingering power sector
issues could be addressed with decentralisation of grid, and increased investment in renewable energy resources. This will see energy consumers have access to electricity directly from Generation companies without recourse to the Transmission companies of Nigeria (TCN)and the distribution companies of Nigeria (Discos).
The lingering issues between discos and the TCN on load rejection of megawatts of electricity is already eliciting concerns to many energy consumers, while also foot-dragging Nigeria’s industrialisation pace. but experts insist Nigeria could be out of the woods with decentralisation of the grids.
“As a lasting solution to this lingering issue, there is need for the power grid in Nigeria to be decentralised,” said Ify Malo, The Nigerian Campaign Director for Power for All in an interview. “With a decentralised grid, GenCos do not have to sell their power to customers through TCN and Discos, and the Discos can also be able to directly generated the power their distribution network can carry.”
She also noted the numerous ways through which this can be achieved. For instance, through embedded power generation and independent electricity distribution networks, especially, using decentralised renewable energy across different technologies from solar, wind, biomass, biogas and geothermal.
The practice, she said, will also be cheaper for the investors and operators, rather than the current emphasis of grid expansion to serve the entire country.
The decentralisation of the grid would guarantee the liberalisation of the privatised power sector that would allow various states distribute their own power and share the tariff according to their economic strength, while increasing availability of power to consumers.
“Most Nigerians are tired. They need power and could access it easier with decentralised power,” said Chuks Nwani, energy lawyer.
Industry watchers are raising concerns that there is huge latent demand for power, specifically for productive use. They also note that the current grid based supply architecture for electricity models in Nigeria have failed so far.
The total installed capacity of the GenCos in Nigeria is 12000MW, but the grid cannot take more than half of this amount. This, according to experts, could be addressed with decentralised grid, which will allow the evacuation of the power to willing consumers at negotiated rates.