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Science & Technology

Gencos may get fresh N600bn Palliatives



The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has recommended additional N600 billion under the ‘Payment Assurance Guarantee (PAG)’ for the power generation companies (Gencos).

PAG was first set up in 2017 by the NBET to, among other objectives, mitigate the financial constraints of the Gencos, who as a result of the poor remittances from power distribution companies (Discos), do not get enough money for the power they generate. The initial fund worth N701 billion covered the Gencos’ revenue shortfalls between 2017 and end of 2018.

However, reliable sources within the power ministry, NBET, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and industry operators disclosed that a N600 billion extension package may have been worked out and approved by the government, to continue the scheme and keep Gencos and gas suppliers running.

These sources, however, explained the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which provided the first N701 billion package to the NBET on terms that included the bulk trader repaying the loan in 10 years, would also disclose the terms for the new package.

The Association of Power Generating Companies (APGC), said they were yet to be informed of the new funding window. They also noted that such funding would be another palliative to the financially-distressed Nigeria’s power sector.

“As far as we are concerned, it’s a rumour until we receive a formal notification,” said the Executive Secretary of APGC, Dr Joy Ogaji.

Ogaji, further stated: “Relative to how we feel as Gencos, these are palliatives to the symptomatic decadence of the sector. Until the government decides to move from palliatives to cure, we will continue in this unending and incomprehensive dance.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s electricity generation capacity has continued to wobble with the average volume of power generated into the grid in seven days – between June 5 and 11, almost at per with the volume that was not generated due to multiple constraints.

Records from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, indicated that between these periods, the country’s average daily power supply was 3,483 megawatts (MW), while constrained volume was 3,031MW, resulting to a financial loss of N10.184 billion.

It explained the highest generation volume for the period was 3778.84MW generated on June 5, while the lowest was 3166.65MW on June 6. Similarly, the country had the highest volume of constrained electricity for this period on June 6 when 4161.7MW could not be generated and the lowest of 2794.5MW unavailable on June 10. Gas supply, water management, transmission and distribution constraints were reportedly responsible for this.

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Science & Technology

Buhari expresses worry over abuse of technology



President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday noted that technology has been abused as a tool for instigating violence in the country, instead of its good intent. He spoke at the State House while receiving the Chairman and Board members of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).

He said “Generally, technology has been an enabler for good however in recent times, we are seeing this platform more and more being used to instigate violence and hate.

“Nowhere is this disturbing trend more apparent than in the various media platform, where fake news is gaining momentum and is being used to divide and destabilize communities and indeed nations around the world
“We see images being manipulated to give legitimacy to lies. We hear a voice on radio preaching falsehood and hatred. We also read stories that are already sponsored by individuals who stand to gain at the expense of truth, peace, and harmony,” he said.

Despite all these, he said, that the powerful weapon that can counter such manipulations is the truth.

He said: “As I mentioned a few months ago, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, since digital information age is borderless, this means we must be ready to respond with the best weapon we have; truth.”
The President urged journalists to save their profession by tackling the growing trend of fake news.

“Journalism as a profession is primarily based on being truthful. With the growing increase in fake news, the future of your profession is under threat and therefore you must be ready to correct this and safeguard your professionalism and reputation,” the President advised.

While giving the FRCN a special assignment, the President said: “In the case of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, you must proactively develop programs based on truth, facts, and broader national interest.

“You should also have strategies to react to fake information and sensitize our citizens not to believe stories at face value especially when the source is unknown or not credible, where supporting facts are not available.”

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Science & Technology

The World’s largest pipeline water transfer Projects – Aka Man made rivers



Some nations and regions that are experiencing extreme water challenges are turning to technology and innovation to create long-lasting solutions for future generations.  Here is a list of five of the biggest and most ambitious water pipeline projects.

Ashkelon Desalination Plant, Israel

The Ashkelon Desalination Plant, which opened in 2005, converts more than 26 billion gallons of Mediterranean Sea water into freshwater for the State of Israel each year—5 to 6 percent of total demand. Ashkelon is not only the largest reverse-osmosis desalination plant in the world, but it’s also one of the few public plants to recover waste heat to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The process does require heat, though not as much as distillation. Reverse osmosis works best when the water is around 95 to 100 F. And while the Ashkelon plant operates at the low end of the desalination cost spectrum (52 cents per cubic meter of water) it’s still not cheap, at more than $51 million a year.

North-South Water Transfer Project, China

Long before an industrial explosion put China’s natural resources under intense strain, the country suffered a water problem. The mountainous southern region takes in ample precipitation, while the northern region, which has swelled to include more than 200 million people, must rely on limited groundwater supplies. In the 1950s, Communist leader Mao Zedong proposed moving water around the country to balance the scales. Now, half a century later, China has broken ground on the plan, called the North-South Water Transfer Project. When construction finally ends in 2050, the system will feature three different lines: a 716-mile diversion called the “Eastern Route,” a 786-mile “Central Route,” and 310-mile “Western Route.”

Moving water across long distances is incredibly energy-intensive—and yet valuable energy is also lost along the way. Even if the pipes are designed to take advantage of gravity, they require dampers every few meters to slow the force of the rushing water. China isn’t the only country to consider huge water transfer projects—a handful is proposed for the western U.S.—but this nationwide, decades-long engineering project takes the cake as the world’s most ambitious. “That takes the insanity to a whole new level,” says Mark Shannon of the University of Illinois and director of the Center for Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems. While it’s a remarkable feat, he points out that extended drought, reduced snowpacks, and melting glaciers are affecting water supplies world over, including China’s. Even a massive transfer project might not guarantee a constant flow of water.

G-Cans Tunnel System, Tokyo, Japan

On the street level, Tokyo is the world’s most populated metropolitan area, with more than 30 million people crammed into the city. But far below the teeming mass of humanity lies a sprawling system of cavernous tunnels, which are empty most of the time. These tunnels make up G-Cans, a system in the Saitama area, on the outskirts of Tokyo, designed to protect the Japanese capital from flooding in the summer wet season. While much of the world is grappling with potable freshwater shortages caused by chemical pollution and drought, global warming could also exacerbate the severe storms that flood many highly populated areas.

If the waters around Tokyo rise to dangerous levels, G-Cans’ 14,000-hp turbines will begin pumping water out of the Edogawa River and into one of five containment silos—each of which measures about 105 ft in diameter and 213 ft deep. The tunnels connecting those silos stretch about 4 miles, making G-Cans the world’s largest underground waterway. If you find yourself in Tokyo, you can tour this colossal underground complex for free—just bring a Japanese translator.

Marina Reservoir, Singapore

Singapore was in a tough spot when it came to collecting freshwater. This tiny country consists solely of the urban area surrounded mostly by sea, so residents, who now count nearly 5 million strong, had few places from which to draw drinking water. As the population grew, the threat of a water shortage heightened. With limited options, the government blocked off one of the city’s harbors to create an artificial reservoir.

The Marina Barrage, which opened in November, is a dam that spans the 1,150-ft Marina Channel. The nine crest gates, each more than 90 ft high, act as a barrier to keep seawater out of the Marina Reservoir. If it rains during low tide, the barrier is lowered to release water; during high tide, pumps inside the dam can blast water out. Meanwhile, freshwater from precipitation continues to pour in. After one or two years of this cycling, it should be a purely freshwater reservoir.

Singapore’s government says that the Marina Reservoir’s catchment—the area from which it collects water—amounts to one-sixth of the nation’s land area. So while Singapore might not have much land, it’s collecting fresh water from as big an area as possible.

Groundwater Replenishment System, Orange County, Calif.

In some respects, Orange County got lucky: It is one of the few places in California with an ample supply of groundwater, according to Shivaji Deshmukh of the Orange County Water District. But a growing population increased demand for water, and heavy consumption brought with it an even more serious problem: When the groundwater level started to sink below that of the sea, saltwater from the Pacific Ocean came dangerously close to leaching in and ruining the county’s supplies.

To fight back against this seawater intrusion, California scientists built a barrier—one made of water, not of concrete. First, engineers use reverse osmosis, micro-filtration, and UV radiation to purify wastewater, which would normally be discharged into the ocean, to drinking water standards. Then, using a 3-mile stretch of 36 wells, about 5 miles from the coast, they inject the reclaimed water in the ground. The wells, Deshmukh says, resemble pipes with perforations. The pressurized water forms a dam between the ocean and the groundwater basin, keeping saltwater at bay.

Orange County first tried this method in 1975, but the new Groundwater Replenishment System, which began operation in January 2008, can create and inject almost 15 times more purified water, Deshmukh says. This allows the county to expand the seawater barrier and keep up with population growth. With current rates of freshwater withdrawal, he told PM, it takes about 30 million gallons every day to maintain the barrier.

The Great Man-Made River

The Great Man-Made River is a network of pipes that supplies water to the Sahara in Libya, from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System fossil aquifer. It is the world’s largest irrigation project.

It is the largest underground network of pipes (2,820 kilometers (1,750 mi))[2] and aqueducts in the world. It consists of more than 1,300 wells, most more than 500 m deep, and supplies 6,500,000 m3 of freshwater per day to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte and elsewhere
There are four major underground basins. The Kufra basin, lying in the south-east, near the Egyptian border, covers an area of 350,000 square kilometers, forming an aquifer layer more than 2,000m deep, with an estimated capacity of 20,000 square kilometers in the Libyan sector.

The 600m-deep aquifer in the Sirte basin is estimated to hold more than 10,000 square kilometers of water, while the 450,000 square kilometer Murzuk basin, south of Jabal Fezzan, is estimated to hold 4,800 square kilometers. More water lies in the Hamadah and Kufrah basins, which extend from the Qargaf Arch and Jabal Sawda to the coast.

First conceived in the late 1960s, the initial feasibility studies were conducted in 1974, with work starting ten years later. The project, which still has an estimated 25 years to run, was designed in five phases. Each one is largely separate in itself but will eventually combine to form an integrated system.


The Jubail-Riyadh Water Transmission System.

The 412 km long twin pipeline, with two 88” pipes, will be one of the largest water transmission systems worldwide and will transport 1.2 million m³ of potable water per day. The project includes one pumping station in Jubail, two intermediate pumping stations along the route, and two tank farms each with a storage capacity of 1.2 million m³.

For the implementation of the project, the Owner SWCC chose the EPC Contractors LIMAK (station construction) and RTCC (pipeline construction). Both contractors have commissioned ILF for the design works. ILF’s scope covers design services for all disciplines including site support during commissioning.

North Cyprus Water Project

The 107-kilometer pipe will draw water from the Dragon River and unite the Turkish mainland with northern Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. Proponents are hoping it will unify the island, divided for the past 39 years.

The suspended pipeline, moored to the floor of the seabed and well lower than where submarines can go, will carry freshwater from Turkish sources as much as 280 meters (919 feet) underwater, Bloomberg is reporting. The first kilometer of pipe has been laid, in what will be a $484 million project.

Cypriot government environment commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou said that the pipeline is “not the best solution both in economic — too expensive — and environmental terms. Water is sensitive and might get polluted during the transfer.”

Others think that the water pipe might open the “channel” so that the Turkish north and Greek south can start mending old problems.

Greek Cypriots are already going ahead in their own way by building three more desalination plants to add to its current two plants.

Qatar Water Reservoir

Construction of five mega-reservoirs that aim to boost Qatar’s emergency water supply is now 70 percent complete, Kahramaa officials have announced.

When finished, they will be among the world’s largest reservoirs, with a capacity of some 100 million gallons of water each.

They aim to supply Qatar’s population a seven-day strategic reserve of fresh water.

Work on the $4.7 billion Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project began in 2015, with the initial phases slated to be done next year.

The reservoirs are being built in Um Baraka, Um Salal, Rawdat Rashid, Abu Nakhla, and Al Thumama.

According to the Qatar Tribune, more than 70 percent of reservoir construction has been completed and the facilities are now in the testing phase.

Additionally, water pipelines work is 95 percent complete and is now in the testing phase.

Williston Reservoir, Canada

In northeast British Columbia, near the towns of Hudson’s Hope and Mackenzie, is Williston Reservoir, one of the largest in the world by volume. The Peace River flows out of the eastern edge of Williston through the Peace River Canyon.

BC Hydro’s Peace Canyon project includes the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and the associated Gordon M. Shrum Generating Station, and the Peace Canyon Dam, 23 kilometers (km) downstream, which reuses water that has already generated electricity.
Surficial geology shows Williston Lake bounded by a variety of landforms. Geological features include a series of terraces formed by glacial outwash, moraines, and lacustrine deposits as well as alluvial fans and steep slopes of sedimentary rock. The major physiographic units include the Cassiar-Columbia Mountains bounding the western edge of Williston Lake, the Rocky Mountain trench of which the Finlay and Parsnip Reach occupy and the eastern systems including the Rocky Mountains, through which the Peach Reach passes.

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National News

Nigeria’s power generation drops to 3,390MW



Nigeria’s power generation dropped to 3,390.7 megawatts on Monday as seven plants, including three built under the National Integrated Power Project, sat idle.

Electricity generation has been hovering around 2,600MW and 3,800MW as of 6.00 am every day since the start of this month, according to data obtained by our correspondent. It plunged to 2,692.7MW on June 7.

Seven power plants, namely Afam IV&V, Alaoji NIPP, Olorunsogo NIPP, Gbarain NIPP, Okpai IPP, AES IPP and ASCO IPP, did not generate any megawatts of electricity as of 6.00 am on Monday.

Total generation fell slightly to 3,429MW as of 6.00 am on Sunday from 3,461.7MW on Saturday, data from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, showed.

The amount of electricity produced by the nation’s 27 power plants stood at 3,898.9MW as of 6.00 am on Friday, the highest level achieved so far this month at that time of the day.

The plants generated 4,050MW as of 6.00 am on May 30 but their total output dropped to 3,161.6MW on June 1, according to the data.

The system operator put the nation’s installed generation capacity at 12,910.40MW; available capacity at 7,652.60MW; transmission wheeling capacity at 8,100MW; and the peak generation ever attained at 5,375MW.

The nation generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydropower plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total.

Last month, the power grid experienced what the Managing Director of TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, described as the worst system instability since he assumed office.

The data from the system operator showed that power generation plunged to zero megawatt as of 6.00 am on May 9 and 10.

The TCN, which manages the national grid, is still fully owned and operated by the government.

The grid has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences. It has suffered seven collapses so far this year.

Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.

Out of the five power stations meant to provide spinning reserves, none has any actual reserve, with the contracted reserve put at 295MW.

The power stations are Egbin, Delta, Olorunsogo NIPP, Geregu NIPP and Omotosho NIPP.

More than five years after the privatisation, the investors who took over the six generation companies and 11 distribution companies that emerged after the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria are still grappling with the old problems in the sector.

The sector is plagued with problems of gas supply shortages, limited distribution networks, limited transmission line capacity, huge metering gap, electricity theft, and high technical and commercial losses, among others.

The financial viability of the Nigerian electricity supply industry remains the most significant challenge threatening the sustainability of the power sector, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

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Science & Technology

DISCOs give update on metering



The pace of metering of electricity consumers is slow because of low liquidity in the sector, it was learnt on Thursday from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), General Manager, Corporate Communication, Mr. Oyebode Fadipe.

He pointed out that metering is aligned with the issue of liquidity in the sector, stressing that where there is an issue of paucity of cash, it limits the firm’s capital expenditure.

Fadipe, who spoke in an audience participatory program of Radio Nigeria in Abuja, noted that the Federal Government has pegged a limit to which the DisCos can spend its revenue.

Besides, he said that the DisCos have not been allowed to thrive with a cost reflective tariff.
The General Manager said: “The issue of metering is tied to the issue of liquidity. Where there are no sufficient funds for investment in the sector, there is no way you can expect everything will go on smoothly.

“For instance, the fundamental part of the challenges that the DisCos and indeed the power sector experiences are that there is a limit to your capital expenditure. You have a ceiling on your budget. You are not allowed to spend beyond a particular revenue level. Then how do you want to provide all the things that you want?

“That is also with prejudice to the fact that you don’t even have a cost reflective tariff that is supposed to help you have the cash to enable you to purchase most of these things.”

He, however, revealed that in its bid to intensify efforts at metering the customers in its franchise area, the AEDC recently purchased a single vehicle for N114 million.

He said that “We (AEDC) signed the contract for N10billion for just meters alone and it was not going to give us a much as 300,000 pieces of meters for a customer population of that is over a million.

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