Federal Government plans to generate 3,000 Megawatts (MW) more of electricity through mini-grids to energize under-served off-grid communities across Nigeria by the year 2020.
The Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, who stated this, said the agency was securing $350 million from the World Bank for rural electrification. Of the amount, $150million will go into funding the mini-grid projects. Through the bank’s Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) to be implemented by REA after its approval in April 2018, key mini-grid projects are expected to serve 200,000 households and 50,000 local enterprises across the Northern states of Kaduna, Plateau and Niger, as well as Rivers state, in the South-South.
Ogunbiyi, who explained that 50 percent of Nigeria’s 160 million population are not connected to the national grid, said they can be energized through mini-grids that would involve private sector participation.
According to her, local businesses spend N40 billion every year to generate electricity and to reduce that, REA is working with the private sector to provide off-grid power supply strategies for the next five years which started from 2015. She stated that investors stand a chance of earning N9 billion from Solar Home Systems (SHS) and mini-grid systems, if about 50 percent of unconnected Nigerians are provided with clean electricity.
Country Director, Nigeria at World Bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud had earlier said that the Bank has over $3 billion funding portfolio for Nigeria, which will no doubt help to improve the power sector just as he sought the collaboration of stakeholders in the development projects. According to him, about one billion people lack access to electricity globally out of which 600 million are in sub-Saharan Africa with 80 million of them living in Nigeria.