FEDERAL Government is pursuing its 30 per cent target of renewables in energy mix through the Rural Electrification Agency’s (REA) Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP).
Presently, Nigeria’s energy mix stands at grid power of gas-fired power (85 per cent), hydropower (13 per cent) while renewable 2 per cent.
Renewable energy has been designed as a policy to bridge the gap between grid power and off-grid power consumers. The NEP is targeted at communities that are off-grid and not close to the grid.
The Managing Director of REA, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, stated in a summary sheet that 66 communities in four states including Ogun, Niger, Sokoto and Cross Rivers States were involved. She said also that 24.5megawatts (MW) will be generated and about 1,700 businesses will be energized.
According to Patrick Fash, an Assistant Director at REA and Head of the REA sensitisation team to Eruuku and Ilasa communities in Ado Odo Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) in Ogun State, “the project is targeted at those communities that are off-grid but deserve to enjoy electricity.”
He stated that the project will be driven by a private sector in partnership with REA whose role is to ensure that electricity users under the scheme are fairly treated, enjoy value for money and not extorted in anyway. He stressed that solar power that the community will soon be enjoying is clean, affordable, has no smoke, no noise, no generator and no fire incidence.
He further allayed the fear of the community members by assuring them that in raining season when sun light will be minimal, the solar panel technology that will be deployed has the capacity to store enough energy during the day, without sunlight, that will be sufficient for their consumption daily.
Representative of Ogun State Government, Afeez Akande, called on the community members to cooperate with the agency for the benefit of the community and the state at large. “It is a great opportunity that this project will be cited at Eruuku community in Ado Odo LCDA, Ogun State. We should be grateful and encourage them to do more.”
Head of Eruuku Community in Ado Odo LCDA, Mr Lateef Adeyemi Kayode, commended the Federal Government and the REA for the Nigeria Electrification Project (Solar Mini Grid) initiative.
According to him, “since last year, they have been coming around to engage us on how to fix solar panel in the community and how best to go about it. We hope that when next they come, they will be here to commission solar energy in the community. We never believed we could be considered for this project. They told us that 46 communities were initially shortlisted for this project, later, it was reduced to 12 communities and finally, two in which we are one of them. We will partner with them to ensure the success of this project.”
It would be recalled that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, recently said that the Federal Government has approved an integrated energy mix targets under Electricity Vision 30:30:30 which targets generation of 30 GW in 2030, with 30 per cent from renewable energy sources.
“Let me be clear and unequivocal by saying upfront that our commitment as a nation and government to pursue renewable and low carbon energy at low cost is clear, firm and unshaking. But this is not all. It is a commitment driven by necessity, contract and policy. We recently signed 14 solar power purchase agreement (PPAs) with 14 developers with the potential to deliver over 1,000 MW of solar power.
“In addition to the necessity to diversify our energy sources from gas and provide some energy security, we are also driven to pursue renewable energy by contract,” he said.