The Federal Government has deepened its strategies to stop the over $14 billion annual wastage on inefficient power generation by Nigerian citizens through an extensive investment in mini-grids for low-cost and timely access to electricity especially in the rural areas.
Indications to this development emerged during the summit of “4th Mini Grid Action Learning Event with the theme “Upscaling Mini Grids for Low Cost and Timely Access to Electricity,” which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Damilola Ogunbiyi, said in her remarks that “From our studies, we realize that Nigerians spend about $14 billion a year on inefficient generation, we also believe that off- grid alternative like creating mini grid and solar home system can easily be at $9.2 billion a year, which will save the Nigerian public and citizens $4.2 billion.”
She added that Nigeria with 180 million population is the biggest and most attractive off grid opportunity in Africa, and one of the best locations in the world on developing mini grid and solar home system, stressing “we are not just saying it, we also have the World Bank banking us and the Rockefeller foundation and we have actually done independent study of people to come up with substantive data.”
Although 30 percent of the population is with limited and low energy access, she pointed out that Nigeria has a significant mark of the population having small scale generators, which relates to something in the region of 10 to 12GW, which she said can be translated to sustainable power supply.
“Nigerian markets have the potential to take up to 10,000 mini grids investments, this is the place you can create your business in scale.
She said that with the support from the World Bank, on how to change the game, the Nigerian Electrification programme, is expected to bring in $350 million with $150 million dedicated to mini grids, which she hoped will serve 200,000 households and 50, 000 local entrepreneurs.
Earlier the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, while delivering his remarks, noted that the summit was apt considering the facts that Nigerian regulators have issued regulations that will govern mini grids and to help scale up and serve the many underserved people of the country and assist them to leverage upon the existing opportunities.
He said that rural electrification has become the crux of the federal government adding that the government is developing very useful data that will help those who see the opportunities that exist in this market to reach them very quickly.
“We propose to intervene through many ways, one of which is solar home systems, another way is to create partnership that help us energize business in communities markets like Araria in Aba, Sabon Gari in Kano, Shomolu in Lagos, Nnewi industrial cluster in Anambra and so many trade hubs in Nigeria,” he said.
World Bank’s Global Lead, Energy Access, Mr. Mac Cosgrove-Davies in his remarks said globally, more than 1 billion people still lack access to electricity adding that Sub Saharan Africa is home to about 600 million of these. “In Nigeria, 80 million people are without access, and millions more suffer from poor service. REA expects mini grids to fill a substantial portion of that gap covering up to 8000 villages nationwide.
“The Government of Nigeria is pushing hard toward universal electrification. The Nigerian government has asked the World Bank’s support for a National Electrification Project that focuses on off-grid opportunities including mini grids and the World Bank is delighted to respond to this request,” he said.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja