By Bukola Olamona
Experts have canvassed for a more robust integration of local content expertise and the building of a better transmission network into the current drive to improve power generation and supply in the country.
The Experts which included officials of Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission ,NERC Transmission Company of Nigeria, Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineers, Power Engineering Society (IEEE PES),private organizations involved in power generation, Transmission And Distribution in Nigeria, Renowned scholars from Nigeria and the University of Tennessee and Howard University, USA stated this at a workshop.
The workshop with the theme “Transmission Grid Expansion : The Way Forward for Stability of Power Supply in Nigeria” organized by the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA and the United States Agency for International Development ,USAID in Akure .
Apart from the need to promote local content, the experts also said there was an urgent need to build transmission network and infrastructure which they consider has been more critical than power generation at the moment. They also call for the deployment of smart grid technologies and application of state of the art technologies as part of the measures to solve the country’s power problems.
In his keynote address at the workshop , the Chairman/CEO Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor James Momoh said the power sector is undergoing reform which is expected to achieve stability, increase adequacy of electricity supply and improve technical proficiency and the transformation of the Nigerian economy.
“The reform focuses on increasing the supply of power significantly, providing greater access to power and a more private sector driven regime,” he added .
Professor Momoh said the power sector cannot do without local content as it is the key to a successful economic development. According to him ,“It is imperative we focus on internal development of our resources through local productions of product and services, local entrepreneurs, manufacturers and service providers in all field” Adding that this will in turn create employment, foreign exchange earnings, contribute to national security, technology acquisition and development. Making a clarion call to Nigerian Universities, the NERC Chairman said, Nigerian Universities should rise up to support the power sector through research and development, capacity development, innovations and solutions providing roles.
“No county can advance its economy and develop its electricity industry without a link between the industry and research centers” He concluded.
He said in a bid to include local content into the power sector in Nigeria, The NERC has put out some specific initiatives to address the issue of power transmission to consumers in a safe, secure, reliable and affordable manner, some of which are but not limited to Meter Assets Providers (MAP) regulation.
The coordinator and chairman Local Organizing committee for this year’s FUTA USAID-Peer workshop, Professor Adegoke Melodi also said the electricity problem in Nigeria is more of power transmission than generation.
He said the problem which is as a result of infrastructure constraints has negatively impacted payments by consumers and shortfall in revenue collection.
Professor Melodi, said to improve transmission of power, the sector should embrace the academia, local entrepreneurs, manufacturers, innovators and service providers to develop infrastructures needed for rapid development in the sector. He further said, due to favourable solar radiation pattern in Nigeria, solar energy should be harnessed and integrated into other forms of renewable energy to boost Electricity supply in Nigeria.
Earlier in His opening Speech, the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Akure, Professor Joseph Fuwape expressed the readiness of his institution to collaborate with relevant agencies and organization in the ongoing efforts to solve the major challenge of power.
Professor Fuwape said the university will not relent in its effort at carrying out problem solving researches for the good of the country. He said the problem in the sector can only be resolved through joint efforts of all stakeholders as production and transmission of power has always been a major problem.