The Federal Government plans to generate 3,000 MegaWatts (MW) of electricity through 10,000 mini-grids to energize under-served off-grid communities across Nigeria by the year 2020.
The Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, who spoke during an energy conference on mini-grid in Abuja, said the agency was securing $350 million from the World Bank for rural electrification. Of the money, $150million will go into funding the mini-grid projects.
Through the Bank’s Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) to be implemented by REA after its approval in April 2018, key mini-grid projects are expected to serve 200,000 households and 50,000 local enterprises across Niger, Plateau, Kaduna and Rivers states.
Mrs. Ogunbiyi, who noted that 50 percent of Nigeria’s 180million population is not connected to the national grid, said they can be energized through mini-grids that would involve private sector participation.
She said local businesses spend N40 billion every year to generate unstained electricity, adding that to reduce that, REA is working with the private sector to provide off-grid power supply strategies for the next five years which started from 2015.
The REA chief said if investors can provide clean electricity to the 50 percent unconnected Nigerians, there will be a potential of N9billion to be earned from Solar Home Systems (SHS) and mini-grid systems.
Speaking, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said the conference was apt as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently signed the mini-grid regulation to accelerate the electrification of rural areas that are far from the grid using renewable energy sources.
“I think it is a great moment for Africa, for the sub-region and it is a great moment for my country, Nigeria,” he said.
Country Director, Nigeria at World Bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud said it was the fourth time the international community is gathering to discuss energy access especially the mini-grid solution with over 600 participants in the on-going edition hosted by Nigeria.
He said about one billion people lack access to electricity globally from which 600million are in sub-Saharan Africa and with 80million of them in Nigeria.
Represented by the Global Lead Energy Access of the Bank, Mr. Mac Cosgrove-Davies, said the Bank has over $3billion funding portfolio for Nigeria and that it is largely to help improve the power sector just as he sought the collaboration of stakeholders in the development projects.