Kainji and Jebba hydro power plants are cutting down on the quantum of power they generate by about 320 megawatts and 96.4MW, respectively, as a result of rejection of electricity load by distributors.
According to Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, the private firm that took over the plants when they were privatised in November 2013, both Jebba and Kainji stations often reduce about 416.4MW of electricity due to frequent requests from the National Control Centre in Osogbo.
The Chief Operating Officer, MESL, Mr. Jose Villegas, and the firm’s Operations Supervisor for Jebba, Mr. John Onimisi, told journalists during a recent tour of the power stations in Niger State that the plants were not allowed to operate at their optimal capacity.
They noted that the NCC always instructed engineers at both Jebba and Kainji to reduce their output on account of power distribution companies’ inability to take the maximum power put on the grid by generation companies.
Villegas said, “We have eight installed power generation units at our Kainji station and six at Jebba, making a total of 14 units under the management of the MESL. The total installed capacity at Kainji is 760MW, while at Jebba, it is 578.4MW, and the sum of these figures is 1,338.4MW.
“The available capacity at Kainji and Jebba is 440MW and 482MW, respectively, meaning that the two plants generate 922MW. This is because the number of units available at both Kainji and Jebba are four and five units, respectively. We have the ability to produce more. But due to load rejection, we always receive directive from the NCC to reduce generation.”
Villegas further noted that Kainji and Jebba power stations did not get capacity payments for their available generation capacity from the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company.
He explained that the frequent request to turn off the Gencos’ turbines was detrimental to their efficiency, as the plants were not designed for such intermittent operational mode.
On his part, Onimisi stated that the management of the MESL had installed water management systems at the operational sites of Jebba and Kainji stations.
He said that the innovative water management system – Inflow Forecasting System and Operational Planning Tool – had been installed at the plants’ water basin by an Austrian firm, Pöyry Energy, adding that the initiative would enable the stations to maximise their output during periods of high and low rainfalls.
“The system will provide us a long-term and short-term water inflow forecasts to support our seasonal, monthly and daily generation plans. The objective is to improve flood safety while maximising the energy output under any given constraint,” Onimisi said.