The partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank, which is aimed at energizing communities with solar hybrid mini grid power plants, recorded its first accomplishment at Rokota, a community in Niger State. The project was the first to be implemented under the World Bank supported Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP). Through the project's mini grids component, it aims to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 300,000 homes and 30,000 local businesses in the country. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Distributed Generation: Minigrid Microgrid Zero Emission 2018-2038.
The NEP, through which the Federal Government, in collaboration with the World Bank and African Development Bank, seeks to catalyse off grid development in Nigeria. The project involves the provision of grant funding, detailed market data and technical assistance through the World Bank ($350m) and African Development Bank ($200m). The NEP components are Solar Hybrid Mini Grids, Solar Home Systems and the Energizing Education Programme. The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency is the implementing agency.
Rokota in Niger State was selected as the first beneficiary of the project and a solar hybrid mini-grid power plant was commissioned in the community. Stakeholders at the event noted that the mini-grid, a 64kw solar hybrid and 360kwh of battery storage, is an indication that soon, millions of Nigerians that have been without access to electricity will start enjoying power.
The mini-grid, which has a distribution network of 10 kilometres across the community, will supply constant electricity to 326 households. The community leaders expressed hope that with the commissioning, the economy of the town and its residents will be boosted, as small and medium scale business activities within the community and its environs will be improved. Members of the community said they were looking forward to the creation of new business opportunities that would be facilitated by the availability of reliable electricity.
Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, said he was delighted that the project was completed and commissioned. He praised President Buhari for his determination to lift communities out of darkness through the Rural Electrification Agency. "I am honoured to be a part of this momentous achievement of the Rural Electrification Agency and the World Bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Power and the Federal Government. The commissioning of the 157KW capacity solar hybrid mini-grid power plant will provide economic growth and stability to the people of Rokota. The Ministry of Power is providing the needed support for the implementation of all Federal Government policies in the diversification of the energy sector. I am, therefore, thrilled that our drive has led us to this great event. This is only the beginning of greater accomplishments. The fact that the project was the first to be commissioned under the World Bank-supported Nigeria Electrification Project demonstrates the importance of Rokota to the nation and the determination of the government to lift as many Nigerians as possible out of poverty."
The minister pledged that everything possible would be done to ensure that communities in the country that had been seemingly forgotten over the past years would begin to enjoy a new lease of life with the provision of basic amenities, including stable power.
Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency, said it was gratifying that the project was being delivered by her agency. "I am proud to say that in line with the Federal Government's power sector roadmap, the Rural Electrification Agency has supervised and implemented mini-grid projects across multiple rural communities, educational institutions, hospitals, and businesses in the country. There are great investment opportunities in the off-grid sector, which is why most projects by the Rural Electrification Agency are private sector-focused. This is why we partnered with PowerGen on this project here in Rokota, to deliver this 157KW solar mini-grid project that will power over 326 households and transform the lives of countless more."
Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank's Country Director in Nigeria, explained that the World Bank is committed to reducing the consumption and use of fossil fuels in energy production through renewable energy investment. "I am thrilled to be here with you all as we witness the commissioning of the first solar hybrid mini-grid project under the Performance-Based Grant component of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP). This is a huge milestone that will set the pace for more impactful electrification projects under the World Bank-funded programme. The World Bank has already approved $350 million for off-grid electrification projects in Nigeria and beginning with Rokota, Nigerians have started benefiting from these projects. The aims and objectives are to eliminate extreme hunger which will make life better. With a project like this, the statistics of millions that have no access to electricity will be a thing of the past. The goal is to get electricity to every nook and cranny across the world. We are very happy to be part of this life-changing experience. Your children will read with ease, and the community will have a health centre that runs smoothly."
The health officer at Rokota Lwemp Health Clinic, Mr. Ndachukwu Ibrahim, said: "This is a milestone in the history of this community. Before, we used to travel for about 10 kilometres for assistance. With this newly commissioned electricity, we have a small fridge now where we keep our medical pharmaceuticals. Now we have light to attend to our patients. With this, we are enjoying a new lease of life. We are grateful to the World Bank, REA, and Federal Government."
Source: Nigeria Electrification Project
Top image: Niger Ministry of Works