Nigeria is presently experiencing a huge shortfall in terms of energy demand by its citizenry against energy supplied to its citizenry. This gap has led to led to irregular power supply all in an attempt to ration the little energy the country is able to generate amongst its vast populace.
The country’s generation capacity averagely stands at about 5,000MW as declared by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, he also affirmed that the country’s transmission capacity is averagely about 7,000MW of energy, and thus this is not sufficient enough to service an entire nation of about 180 million people. Similarly, about 50% of Nigerians are yet to have access to electricity from the national grid due to non-connection to or long disconnection from the grid. Some communities are at disadvantageous positions, as the financial cost of connecting to the national grid is enormous by virtue of their geographical locations.
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It is in this light that several experts have called for the embedded generation scheme as a surest means of solving the power shortage challenge presently rocking the power sector. The embedded generation scheme is a process of siting power generation facilities as close as possible to the consumers. The generated power is directly distributed to the end users with the use of either existing or newly created distribution network of the franchised distribution company operating in that locality.
Embedded power generation is simply a situation where a generator is directly connected to the distribution network. The generator or generation facility sources could be solar, wind, biomass, diesel, fuel oils, crude oil and small hydro, based on the energy mix of the area. This embedded power could also be sourced directly from manufacturing companies that generate their own power and have enough to give to neighboring communities, as long as there is a seamless agreement with the companies and the disco in line with NERC’s guidelines, there is no problem.
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Embedded generation is a form of off-grid power generation and distribution to consumers; it is quite different from the micro-grid power system. Embedded generation unlike micro-grid makes use of existing distribution network in distributing power to end users, i.e. the discos purchase the energy from the generating company and distribute it to some part of their customers based on the premise of proximity to generator. The embedded generation scheme has the following advantages;
- It would provide a more reliable source of energy critical for viable industrial activities.
- It would also minimize line losses and voltage sag.
- It would lead to efficient power delivery as a result of load’s closeness to source.
- Embedded generation would provide power for areas without grid supply, especially rural areas.
- Enhanced security of generation facilities, even in remote communities, as members of the host communities would guard it since they see it to be their only source of power.
- The DisCos would be able to procure and supply power faster and cut dependency on the national grid.
As the country attempts to increase its national generation capacity, the government and private investors can also look into embedded generation as a means of reducing the dependency on the national grid which is obviously insufficient for the entire populace.