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Explainer: The 188MW Geometric Power Plant and its impact on Aba residents

The inauguration of the 188MW Geometric Power Plant in Aba, Abia State, marks a pivotal development, poised to significantly alter the energy narrative for its residents.

This development is not just a milestone for Aba but a beacon of progress for Nigeria’s broader electricity challenges, characterized by issues in power generation, transmission, and distribution.

To comprehend the significance of this power plant, it is essential to contextualize its impact within the current power dynamics and the challenges that lie ahead.

The Geometric Power Plant initiative was conceived as far back as 2004, before the power sector reforms were fully implemented. Work started about 4 years later. The first phase of the project was completed around 2013.

However, the project faced several challenges, including regulatory, political, and legal issues, which were not resolved until 2022 under the Buhari administration.

During that year, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) facilitated the handover of the Aba Electricity Ringfenced area from EEDC/Interstate Electrics/FGN to Geometric.

It was expected to commence operation in September 2023, starting with one of its four General Electric brand turbines.

The second turbine will come on stream once the performance of the first turbine is declared satisfactory by the team of engineers led by KSE Energy of Turkey and Engineer Ben Caven, a former executive director of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), reputed to be the only person to have run the generation, engineering, and transmission divisions of the state-owned utility.

Geometric also stated that they have completed building four brand new power substations and refurbished three substations inherited from the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

In addition, they provided thousands of kilometers of cables and wires, as well as world-class tubular poles available in only highly industrialized cities such as Tokyo in Japan and San Francisco in California.

The size of the Geometric Power Plant is impressive for the Aba ring fenced coverage area. For example, Lagos State, one of Nigeria’s most industrialized regions, generates about 800-1000MW of electricity monthly, despite a demand estimated at 2000MW. This disparity between supply and demand underscores a nationwide challenge.

Abia State, under the Enugu Distribution Company (Disco), receives a mere 11.8% of power from the national grid, equating to about 472MW, to be distributed across its and neighboring states.

This allocation falls short of meeting the region’s energy needs, making the introduction of the Geometric Power Plant’s 188MW particularly noteworthy.

To grasp the magnitude of this development, a 185MW power plant operating 24/7 should generate approximately 135,360,000 kWh of electricity per month.

Assuming an average consumption of roughly 500 kWh per household, this capacity could potentially impact around 270,720 households. This is one reason why Geometric Power’s 188MW plant is a significant development.

The 188MW capacity of the Geometric Power Plant signifies a monumental shift towards addressing the power deficit in Aba and potentially, surrounding areas. To grasp the magnitude of this development, a 185MW power plant operating 24/7 should generate approximately 135,360,000 kWh of electricity per month.

The 188MW capacity of the Geometric Power Plant signifies a monumental shift towards addressing the power deficit in Aba and potentially, surrounding areas. To grasp the magnitude of this development, a 185MW power plant operating 24/7 should generate approximately 135,360,000 kWh of electricity per month.

This plant could theoretically support around 270,720 households, assuming an average household consumption of 500kWh. Such a figure highlights the plant’s potential to considerably alleviate the energy scarcity in Abia State.

However, generating power is only part of the solution. The larger hurdles lie in the efficient transmission and distribution of this generated electricity to end-users. The success of this venture hinges on several critical factors:

Gas Supply: The power plant’s operation depends on a reliable natural gas supply. Geometric has laid a 27km pipeline for this purpose, but the sustainability of this supply is crucial.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): The enforcement of PPAs between Geometric, Aba Power Ltd (APLE), and consumers will determine the stability of power distribution. These agreements are vital for ensuring that the generated power reaches its intended industrial and residential recipients.

Legacy Debts and Tariffs: Addressing the existing debts owed to Discos and establishing a cost-reflective tariff that aligns with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) guidelines remain significant challenges. These financial intricacies will play a critical role in the plant’s operational viability.

Despite these challenges, there is a cautiously optimistic outlook for the provision of 24-hour power supply to Aba residents. This optimism is contingent upon the robustness of the contractual agreements covering gas supply, maintenance, tariffs, and addressing energy losses. Any lapses in these areas could jeopardize the project’s success.

This article was first written as an X (formerly Twitter) Post by @ugodre. It has been adapted here as an opinion article.

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