Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Reducing Energy Loss

                                                                        29 March 2014           Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This piece of writing is merely a limited research compiled from different sources and personal experience. It is neither a result of any proper research.
The writer:

It is almost a default to hit the world headlines whenever some big innovation and exploration is made or a project is put in place the first time but it remains much untold once it is over and transferred to operation. The energy sector which consumes a lot of capital and know-how is most often prone to such phenomenon. We don’t hear how the operation goes as much as we are told when the projects come to being. This creates a gap to learn which ones are effective and take lessons from it as most operational outcomes and reports are too general, cumulative and averages.
As of 2010 world fact book of CIA estimate, the world’s annual electricity production was 21.11 trillion KWH with a net consumption of 19.46 trillion KWH; the difference remains an annual energy loss which is a little higher than the annual energy generated by Tana Beles power plant of Ethiopia assuming to perform with a load factor of about 35%.
Ethiopia in particular, annually produces 4.929 billion KWH energy with a net consumption of 4.451 billion KWH and an annual energy loss of 478.00 million KWH. When compared to the world’s annual average, Ethiopia’s annual energy loss is higher by about 1.9 percent.
This higher loss of energy may partially be attributed to longer transmission lines as many of the energy sources are hydro power plants and located away from the load centers and consumers. However; what is equally apparent to this higher loss of energy is probably the aged and poorly maintained network of the nation. As the historical trend depicts, this loss figure will probably rise when the network gets bigger unless
·       Scheduled maintenance as per recommendation of equipment and material manufacturers is put in place rather than replacing only when damaged or failed,
·       The effort of diversification of the energy resources which takes in to account the distance to load centers are scaled up.
·       The efficiency of power plant equipment is made to increase,
·       Modern demand side management tools are deployed in parallel
·       Ways of discouraging vandalism of power transmission structures and theft of power is devised,
·       Upgrading of the overall system as planned to avoid bottle neck of the power flow is effected ,
Maintaining the network keeps it running longer and reduces downtime in addition to the contribution on the reduction of energy loss. Most industrial systems are designed to operate reliably for 20 to 60 years — but only if they're properly serviced and maintained.
Medium and large scale industries should also be encouraged and enforced to implement proper power factor correction equipment to minimize the effect of the reactive power on the transmission network. When the power factor of the consumers is lowered, the current of the system increases thereby increasing the loss as it is not easy to increase the size of the conductor and raise the capacity of the system of an already established network. It will also make voltage regulation difficult and reduce handling capacity of the overall system.
In addition to that, outsourcing the maintenance sector /rather than relying only on the states utility, EEU/ followed by proper supervision and monitoring may be an option to minimize the loss Ethiopia is incurring annually.
If businesses conduct further research and engage in the area, they will have long lasting and ongoing business opportunity in addition to contributing their part in reducing the state’s prevailing energy loss.
Moreover, it is the management and the technical work force that can create a real difference in the sector. Accordingly, investing on genuine technical expertise will not have any parallel. It is appreciated that man power trainings are usually part of new project contracts but fairness to evaluate for effectiveness based on merit and retaining them rather than wasting time on short time benefits is yet a much to do business ahead.
Regional administrations should also exercise to take responsibility of protecting the networks under their territory rather than pointing their fingers towards the electric utility or Ethiopian electric power alone if the plan envisioned by the GTP is to be carried out as planned.

Power flow

Output power

 oes ecs but a little attention is given to distribution transformers which are overloaded.Power from source
 generating stations

Power lost in the TL

Transmission line
 Fig:   Simple graphical view of the power loss in power flow!

All in all, pushing hard the investment on power generation forward, as is currently practiced, is not of a choice for Ethiopia to sustain the evolving economy but modernizing the already established operation and maintenance of the power network and reducing the energy loss is equally indispensable.

We are almost done, God bless Ethiopia and the efforts of its people!

Thank you for dropping by,