Federal University Ndufu-Alike Goes Off-Grid; Nigeria’s National Grid Plan Challenged

Federal University Ndufu-Alike  Goes Off-Grid; Nigeria’s National Grid Plan Challenged

I have maintained that the biggest challenge with Nigeria’s national grid system is that it is losing its best customers. As banks, oil companies and universities go off-grid, providing electricity through DISCOs (distribution companies) will become harder. Dangote Group uses about 3,000 MW of power but none of those watts have ever been linked to national grid. No matter how you see it, that is lost revenue for DISCOs.

Now universities are joining the game: Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo in Ebonyi State is now GRID-free. Yes, it is a big deal to be free of national grid in Nigeria. Obafemi Awolowo University plans to do so, and many other universities will follow.

Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo power project

By the time these schools finish and the premium companies are done, DISCOs will not have good customers to provide services. Who will give them funding under that paralysis? No investor will invest in you only for you to power only those that will require disconnection threats before they pay. Yes, you will be left with below premium customers to serve.

The government must understand that it has only five years before national grid model will collapse at least for commercial purposes. Sure, mid-scale industrial customers will continue to prefer national grid but that cannot be banked upon. Most renewable energy sources (e.g. solar) used in Nigeria today are not optimized for such services. On residential segment, the best customers are going solar weekly and very soon they will replace their generators with solar panels. DISCOs have existential threats in Nigeria under this redesign.

Congratulations to Federal University Ndufu-Alike. You have done well. Now, deepen your program to higher heights; no more power issues.

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2 thoughts on “Federal University Ndufu-Alike Goes Off-Grid; Nigeria’s National Grid Plan Challenged

  1. As always, Nigeria is a nation of contradictions, and that’s one way to perpetuate our paralysis and mediocrity.

    We have policymakers who don’t quite understand the sort of policies to formulate, so what you usually see is a situation where two opposing policies end of cancelling out each other, and then the grumbling continues…

    You cannot encourage independent power generation and distribution, and at the same time be canvassing for money to build transmission lines, the type that run from Rivers to Borno or Niger to Lagos; what exactly would be their economic justification? Obviously none. With current denomination going on, both GenCos and DisCos will be out of business, of course the TCN will be firstto be buried!

    So it’s either we dismantle super grid system and opt for mini and micro grids, the types that make generation and distribution to be within short distances. The way our power sector is currently structured, even a fool won’t fund it, because he knows that there’s no chance to recoup investment.

    We have a serious problem when it comes to aligning policies with practical realities, and yet we have a government, including those who earn salaries and perks as public servants.

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  2. Chiedozie Nwankwo · Edit

    Perhaps the blazing deserts in the Northern Nigeria will be home to large solar installations. If so, there is an additional challenge for Nigeria’s National Grid Plan if excess power generated by renewables are to be integrated to the national grid.

    As Nigeria transitions to greater and greater shares of renewable energy, the question of how to transport those electrons — the electricity generated by solar installations — across to where the people are, often hundreds of kilometers away, becomes an additional important challenge facing electrical engineers.

    What do you think of the recent advances in DC grid technology (High-voltage direct current, or HVDC) that has the potential to transmit three times as much power over the same transmission line corridor as alternating current?

    I feel this HVDC technology might still might be a key part of the electrical grid of the future with its unique abilities to help TCN integrate renewable energy into the grid and thus keeping commercial/industrial customers with a competitive energy price.

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