Aba IPP (Aba Phase I)
Project History and Overview
Geometric Power Limited (GP) is a pioneer power project developer in Nigeria. It has established a power generation facility in Aba, Nigeria, with the intention of providing high quality electric service to a limited number of large industrial and commercial clients. Initially, the project consisted of the installation of a 141 MW gas-fired power plant in Phase 1, over 110km of 33 kV and 11kV sub-transmission lines, four new substations and capacitor banks for distribution of power to the large industrial and commercial consumers that had been receiving power from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Geometric Power and Aba Power secured a 20-year concession from the Federal Government of Nigeria to supply power exclusively to the Aba industrial city and its surrounding communities and has constructed the Aba Integrated Power Project (“Aba IPP”). The Aba IPP is the first independent and integrated power utility in Nigeria, which comprises a 141 MW gas fired power plant, a 27km gas pipeline, and a distribution utility, within a ring-fenced distribution network. It is an embedded electricity facility designed to generate and distribute its own electricity. The Project is presently owned by the Project Developer/Sponsor: Geometric Power Limited, Aba Power Limited, and other investors.
During the course of the discussions between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), GP, and PHCN, in order to avoid “cherry picking” of good customers in Aba a decision was reached to expand the project to include all electricity consumers on the distribution system of the PHCN Aba Business Unit which covered the Aba metropolis, including rural areas. With this understanding, GP established separate corporate entities – Geometric Power Aba Limited (GPAL), to own and operate the new power generation station; and, Aba Power Limited Electric (APLE), to manage the electric power distribution system. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) subsequently issued a power generation license to GPAL, and an electric distribution license to APLE.
The city of Aba in Abia State is an important regional market, and the principal commercial centre in South Eastern Nigeria with a population of 2.3 million in 2006. Aba is generally referred to as the “Taiwan of Africa” due to the ingenuity of local businessmen, artisans and craftsmen who are able to use locally available resources to fabricate spare parts and other machinery. However, the current supply of electricity in this region is grossly inadequate to serve the needs of residential and commercial districts of Aba. Aba is a city with significant commercial and industrial concerns whose need for adequate and reliable supply of electricity for its complex and growing business environment is paramount. Aba’s industrial products include paper products, soap, glass products, oil mills, beer and water bottling, processed food products, among others. Small metal and wood fabrication industries are numerous presenting significant power loads. Presently, Industries and other consumers in Aba depend on expensive diesel generation for a substantial part of their production because of inadequacy of the power supply from the national grid.
The development of Aba IPP is based on a commercial study and technical audit of the Aba Island conducted by Geometric Power in collaboration with the Government owned utility, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in March 2006 which covered information on daily peak load for the Aba Island, suppressed demand, list of shut down industries and forecast power consumption requirements of the various of customers categories in Aba. Over time, PHCN service became increasingly problematic, with frequent power curtailments and very poor power quality. Virtually all industrial and commercial enterprises have been forced to rely on various forms of self-generation and emergency power solutions, while some of the largest industries have decided to establish permanent power stations to satisfy all power requirements. The report identified a wide and increasing gap between demand and supply of electricity in Aba. This result was further substantiated by a subsequent comprehensive census of all categories of consumers in Aba and a technical survey of the existing Aba distribution network conducted in January 2008 by NRECA of USA, the Distribution Management Contractor for the Aba IPP. Another study in 2009 showed that residents and commercial entities in Aba are willing to pay cost reflective rates for power rather than continue to incur extremely high cost of operating back-up generators for their businesses. The study further indicated that approximately two-third of all households in Aba generate almost 170MVA (approximately 136MW) of electricity through generators while about 115MVA (approximately 92MW) is generated by both commercial and industrial consumers. These figures demonstrate the unsatisfied demand for electric power in Aba.
The Aba Integrated Power Project (IPP) has therefore been designed to supply reliable power to industries, commercial businesses, residences and other power off-takers in Aba ring-fenced area through construction, operation and delivery of electricity from the 140 MW gas fired power plant to all off-takers in phase 1 of the project. In addition, the construction of over 100km brand new industry-centred distribution lines will ensure the delivery of reliable affordable power supply to several industries and large commercial entities currently poised to expand production capacity when the project is commissioned. A dedicated 27km gas pipeline has been constructed for the project which will ensure reliable transportation of gas fuel to the power plant from Shell’s gas gathering center, also in Abia State. The Aba IPP is in its commissioning phase and is scheduled to enter into commercial operations in the 2nd quarter of 2014.
The project’s generation company, GPAL has been licensed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to generate electric power and sell power to non-regulated consumers that are within the Aba ring-fence. The Operation and Maintenance contractor for Aba IPP’s generation company, GPAL, is O & M Solutions (OMS).OMS has extensive experience in the maintenance of similar plants around the world and is working with the EPC contractor G5 of South Africa to ensure completeness and technical soundness of the power plant.
The project’s distribution company, APLE has been licensed by NERC to distribute electricity to regulated customers within the Aba metropolis. APLE’s mission is to build an efficient network to distribute power in Nigeria in line with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act. Its customers in Aba comprise of regulated small commercial and residential consumers who would receive power through rehabilitated existing distribution lines in the “ring-fenced” network leased by the project’s distribution company from the Government owned utility, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
The Operation and Maintenance contractor for Aba IPP’s distribution company, APLE, is National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), USA. NRECA is an experienced electricity distribution company based in Arlington, Virginia, United States of America. NRECA represents more than 900 member cooperatives, serving over 42 million people in 47 states in the USA alone. NRECA International also provides services in several countries. NRECA will provide the management team for APLE that will be responsible for overseeing the daily operation of the distribution utility in Aba.