By Oke Peter
In an extraordinary milestone achievement, the Nigerian power grid has recorded an unparalleled period stability in the history of the power sector, operating without any major disruptions or systems collapse for an impressive span of 400 consecutive days and counting.
This milestone signifies a remarkable advancement in the nation’s efforts at strengthening its power infrastructure and ensuring a reliable and dependable electricity supply to distribution load centres for onward distribution to electricity customers nationwide.
The sustained stability and reliability of the Nigerian power grid can be attributed to a combination of strategic measures and investments in the power system by the Management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Some of the key elements that have contributed to this remarkable accomplishment include Configuration and Enforcement of Free Governor Control, effective Under-frequency Relay Scheme among others.
TCN constituted a three-person committee was formed to go round the country for the configuration and activation of Primary Reserve in coordination with power stations and in line with the provisions in the Grid code. This committee devised a robust monitoring and enforcement mechanism for generating station compliance after activating the unit governor control. This innovative approach, known as Free Governor Mode of Operation (FGMO), automatically adjusts generation in response to frequency changes, ensuring stability, reliability, and reduced transmission losses.
Under Frequency Relay Scheme, counters the challenges posed by occasional generation shortfalls and resulting frequency declines, TCN implemented a strategic deployment of under frequency relay scheme. This scheme operates in critical stages to prevent frequency-related disruptions by initiating circuit breaker trips or alerting network operators, thereby averting system collapse.
TCN in-house engineers deployed the IoT/VPN for Enhanced Grid Visibility by creating an interim solution utilizing loT sensors and devices. This real-time monitoring capability aids proactive issue identification, preventing potential disruptions. Efforts are ongoing to expand this visibility by incorporating additional transmission stations through loT integration
TCN successfully carried out several Infrastructure Upgrades / N-1 contingency transforming the grid from a radial network to a loop system through massive investment in construction and dualization of critical circuits, Comprehensive modernization of transmission infrastructure, including commissioning new transmission stations and installing power transformers, has reinforced grid resilience and operational flexibility.
The company equally focussed on putting in place an enhanced maintenance regime with regular inspections, prompt repairs, and proactive preventive maintenance strategies to ensure the integrity of power plants, transmission lines, and substations. This approach sustains infrastructure health, operational reliability, and efficient power flow. Regular maintenance has equally ensured less equipment downtime due partly to regular mechanised line trace which has prevented vegetation from fouling transmission lines. This has helped reduce downtime especially in forest areas where TCN transmission lines transverses.
Also, dedicated teams of trained staff have consistently demonstrated proactive response during emergencies, contributing to swift crisis resolution and minimal disruptions, their collaboration, clear communication, and continuous training underscore their commitment to grid management and resilience.
Collaboration between TCN and stakeholders in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) has continued to yield joint initiatives such as Power Purchase Agreements, Service Level Agreements, Power Evacuation Agreements, and NESI situation room reports. Regular evaluations enhance real-time monitoring and adjustment, fostering a resilient power landscape.
The Nigerian power grid’s achievement of over 400 days of uninterrupted stability showcases the nation’s commitment to advancing its power infrastructure. This success is a result of increased efficiency, technologies, dedicated personnel, strategic measures, and collaborative partnerships. this achievement reflects the potential for positive transformation within the energy sector. With unwavering determination, ongoing investments, and collective efforts, the nation is poised for a stronger and dependable power system.