Wanted: ‘Smart Grid’ As Panacea For Incessant Grid Collapse, by Umar Farouk Ahmad
Since its inception in 1886 (the time when electricity was first generated in the country), Nigeria has been mourning from national grid collapse.
According to a Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) data, the national grid has collapsed 110 times, since the power sector was privatized in 2010.
Nigeria experienced 146 total national grid shutdowns and 76 partial collapses during the period.
The outcome of both system failures has led to unstable power supply, negatively affecting businesses and causing economic distress for citizens, over the years.
According to experts, the grid collapse is mainly due to poor maintenance. Then, the issues of poor management, and vandalization of power facilities are also there.
But this writer strongly believes the major cause of the country’s grid collapse regularly is that Nigeria is still operating a traditional grid system, instead of a ‘smart grid system’.
Nigeria needs to upgrade from its traditional power grid to a smart power grid, as the best solution to the collapse of our grid is a smart power grid.
*Between Traditional Power Grid and Smart Power Grid?*
First and foremost, the grid system used in Nigeria is the Traditional Power Grid.
The TRADITIONAL POWER GRID is the interconnection of various power systems elements such as synchronous machines, power transformers, transmission lines, transmission substations, distribution lines, distribution substations, and different types of loads.
Traditional energy infrastructure is electromechanical. This means that it is of, relating to, or denoting a mechanical device that is electrically operated. The technology of this manner is typically considered to be “dumb” as it has no means of communication between devices and little internal regulation.
The system is a one-way distribution, meaning power can only be distributed from the main plant using traditional energy infrastructure.
Due to limitations in traditional infrastructure, repairs, and energy distribution is conducted manually. Technicians have to physically go to the location of the failure to make repairs. The need for this can extend the amount of time that outages occur.
Consequently, these are some of the reasons traditional grids easily collapse in case of small or big faults.
On the other hand, the SMART POWER GRID is a modern form of the traditional power grid, which provides a more secure and dependable electrical service.
It is, in fact, two-way communication between the utility and the electricity consumer.
The smart grid employs digital technology, allowing for increased communication between devices and facilitating remote control and self-regulation.
Read Also: Partial Grid Collapse and Nigeria’s Worsening Power Crisis, by Umar Farouk Ahmad
Again, the smart grid is self-healing and can monitor itself using digital technology.
This allows it to balance power loads, troubleshoot outages, and manage distribution without the need for direct intervention from a technician.
With a smart grid system, the rate of grid collapse in Nigeria will surely drop.
And then, more importantly, we shall all begin to witness an accelerated improvement in the country’s economy, livelihoods of citizens, and businesses of individuals, to mention but a few!
_Farouk, a Graduate of Electrical Engineering, Wrote From Wuye, Abuja. [email protected]_