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Power Supply: FG Targets 27,000 Homes, Signs €9.3m Deal for Provision of 23-Mini-grids Nationwide

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The federal government has signed an Interconnected Mini-grid Acceleration Scheme (IMAS) deal with eight indigenous solar mini-grid developers for the establishment of 23 mini-grids across 11 states of the country.

Expected to generate a 5.4-kilowatt peak to connect about 27,600 households, and impact over 138,000 Nigerians in two years, the €9.3 million project is being coordinated by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) with support from the European Union and the German government.

At the award signing ceremony, the Minister of State, Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, said the programme was geared towards achieving the country’s vision of generating at least 30, 000 megawatts of electricity by 2030.

Jedy-Agba noted that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was always open to opportunities that would achieve the acceleration of electricity in Nigeria.

According to him, the national renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, vision 30:30:30 aim at achieving 30,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2030, with renewable energy contributing 30 per cent of the energy mix. To achieve this, the minister stated that Nigeria would have to construct over a thousand mini-grids of 100 kilowatts.

The minister added that it was important to continue to find creative and innovative ways to achieve the objective, and one of which was through collaborating with development partners and the private sector.

He added: “We understand that one of the major bottlenecks for the private sector’s involvement is financing, hence, the reason the NESP and REA have worked closely to develop and implement the scheme.”

The eight local solar mini-grid developers include Acob Lighting Technology Limited, Gve Projects, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited, Rubitec Nigeria Limited and Darway Coast Nigeria Limited, Synergy Limited, Sosa-Protergia Joint Development Company Limited, and A4&T Power Solutions Limited.

They would receive in-kind grants through the REA with support of the European Union and the German Government within the framework of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP).

The indigenous developers are expected to establish 23 mini-grids across 11 states, which include, Zamfara, Niger, Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Delta, Anambra, and Cross River.

Earlier, the Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo said the scheme was aimed at bridging the funding gap affecting indigenous developers in the renewable energy sector.

“It is our hope that the signatures we put down today in these documents set a precedent for the new and improved power and energy sector in Nigeria.

“As an agency, we encourage investors to explore the solar mini-grid sector. However, one major constraint to this is usually financing. This is why the REA, with the support of NESP, is working together to alleviate this bottleneck.

“We do this by providing in-kind grants to selected mini-grid developers on favourable and encouraging terms as contained in the grant agreement,” he stressed.

According to him, the main objective of the intervention is to design and test a tender model for interconnected solar mini-grids, leading to the foundation of the scheme.

“The wonderful thing about the IMAS project is that we have ensured that all the developers are Nigerians. This is to say that the Nigerian energy sector has come a long way from what it used to be and we are proud of this,” he explained.

Head of programme, NESP, Benjamin Duke, assured that his team would continue to work to build investors’ confidence in the sector by developing an accurate electricity market intelligence that will provide investors with accurate data about the country’s electricity needs.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF), Sanusi Ohiare, said while investors were being encouraged to explore the solar mini-grid sector, one major constraint to their project development was finance.

“Hence, the REA with the support of NESP was able to alleviate this major burden by providing capital in-kind grant to selected mini-grid developers on favourable and encouraging terms as contained in the grant agreement,” he noted.

Head of Section, Green Economy at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Inga Stefanowicz, noted that the EU’s financial support for the programme represents the EU’s commitment to support Nigeria in the efforts to enable more investments in the solar mini-grid sector.

“We hope that our contribution will help improve access to reliable and affordable electricity in Nigeria, especially in the disadvantaged areas of the country, hence advancing the living standard of the rural and peri-urban dwellers using renewable sources of energy,” she stated.

Country Director of GIZ Nigeria & ECOWAS, Ina Hommers, said the provision of capital in-kind grants to the developers in the solar mini-grid sector through the IMAS aimed to ensure higher investments in the sector.

“Therefore, the grants contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria, in particular SDG 7 on access to affordable and clean energy and SDG 13 on climate action. These represent one of the focal areas of GIZ’s support to Nigeria,” Hommers stressed.

Depending on the ability of the private sector, between 18 to 24 solar mini-grid projects will be deployed in 2022 under the project, serving clean electricity to around 138,000 people in Nigeria.

Culled from THISDAY

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