By Sebastine Obasi
Nigeria cannot overcome its insufficient electricity supply unless she embraces micro-grid solution, Senior Application Leader, Micro-grid Energy Systems, Eaton, a global power solutions company, Bunty Kiremire has said.
A micro-grid is a set of energy resources that either can allow one to seamlessly transfer from a utility supply to your local supply; or the ability to start up itself.
Speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded Future Energy Conference in Lagos, Kiremire stated that a move to a more distributed energy model will go a long way in meeting energy demands in Nigeria more effectively.
“Currently, only between 40 to 50 percent of Nigerians have access to electricity and the Nigerian electricity/ power system suffers from reliability with an average of 4,600 power outage hours in a year. Electricity costs are also high.
“Micro-grid proliferation in a market like Nigeria would solve these three challenges. It is an opportunity to bring sufficient, cost-effective and reliable electricity to a large number of people,” he said. Explaining how micro-grids can solve Nigeria’s energy challenges, Kiremire said it offers accessibility, reliability, as it is cost effective.
“Generation units which are closer to the load and to the customer can be built. This will avoid investment in long transmission and distribution networks and solve the issue of access to electricity.
“Micro-grids will provide multiple sources of energy that can be coupled to the source of the utility supply.
“The cost of power reduces as we integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy. Solar PV specifically, being the cheapest source over its lifetime. If we compare this to diesel generation which is currently the backbone of electricity supply in Nigeria costs will be reduced.”
“There is going to be a significant business case to increase renewable sources and micro-grids in the country, particularly in the area of distributed energy.”
“Nigeria has close to 20,000 megawatts of power produced by diesel or gas generators. This is provides a clear opportunity for introducing or combining the existing capacity into micro-grids as well. This will also optimize the cost of energy and allow faster electrification of communities the grids could not access previously. If micro-grid projects continue to meet analyst estimates, we will be relying more on stored and renewable energy.”