A new Draft Mini-Grid Regulation 2016 empowering electricity distribution companies to use mini-grids as a bridge technology to accelerate their electrification activities has been penciled down for takeoff as soon as possible. This according to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is to augment electricity supply to households, businesses and institutions in the country.
Mini-grid means any electricity supply system with its own power generation capacity, supplying electricity to more than one customer and which can operate in isolation from or be connected to a distribution licencee’s network.
Contacted industry pundits say the measure may be to shore up the inadequacies of long distance transmission and vandalisation.
Meanwhile, the total electricity generation in the country dropped to 3,894.40MW as of 6am on Friday, from 4,229MW recorded on October 2. The nation achieved its peak generation of 5,074.70MW on February 2, 2016, according to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
NERC said the mini-grid regulation was specifically designed to accelerate electrification in areas without any existing distribution grid and areas with an existing but poorly electrified or non-functional distribution grid, especially but not limited to rural areas.
Within the regulations, the term mini-grid is used for any isolated or interconnected mini-grid generating between zero kilowatt and one megawatt of generation capacity.
NERC said, “If the power distributed by the isolated mini-grid is larger than 100 kW, the mini-grid developer will need to apply for a mandatory permit. If the generation capacity of the power station installed is larger than 1MW, the plant is not a mini-grid under this regulation and other regulations apply.”
To encourage mini-grid development, the commission said cost-reflective retail tariffs would be utilised, adding that tariffs would be higher than the current electricity distribution company’s retail tariffs because of the exigencies apparent in the development.