The Federal Government has said it plans to generate 3,000 megawatts (mw) of electricity through 10,000 mini grids to energise underserved off-grid communities across the country by 2020.
The Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, dropped the hint at the ongoing Energy Conference on Mini Grid in Abuja where she said the World Bank was giving $350m for rural electrification from which $150m would fund the mini grid projects.
If the bank’s Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) is approved in April 2018, the key mini grid projects are expected to serve 200,000 households and 50,000 local enterprises in Niger, Plateau, Kaduna and Rivers states.
Mrs. Ogunbiyi noted that 50 per cent of Nigeria’s 180m population were not connected to the grid and that they could be energised through mini grids that would involve private sector participation in the next five years, starting from 2015.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, in his address, 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 were far from the grid using renewable energy sources.
He said: “I think it is a great moment for Africa, for the sub region and it is a great moment for my country, Nigeria” while urging massive support for the efforts of the Federal Government in electrifying Nigeria.
The Nigeria Country Director of World Bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, said it was the fourth time the international community was gathering to discuss energy access; especially the mini grid solution, with over 600 participants in the ongoing edition hosted by Nigeria.
Mr. Benmessaoud who was represented by the Global Lead Energy Access of the bank, Mr. Mac Cosgrove-Davies, said about one billion people lacked access to electricity globally from which 600 million were in sub-Saharan Africa and with 80 million of them in Nigeria.