NIGERIA’S federal government has commissioned a solar hybrid mini-grid power plant in Rokota in Edati Local Government Area of Niger State as part of an ongoing plan to address the country’s chronic electricity shortage.
Reeling under the weight of inadequate power supply, Nigeria is the world’s largest importer of small and medium generators and the number two buyer of large generating sets. Currently, Nigeria only generates about, 7,000MW of electricity, compared with 51,000MW in South Africa and about 30,000MW in Egypt and even of this amount, only 5,000MW is transmittable.
Desperate to address the problem, Nigeria’s federal government has created a Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and it has commissioned this new plant in Niger State. This Rokota facility is the first to be implemented under the World Bank-supported Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) and will provide clean, safe and reliable electricity to about 3,000 people.
Rokota is a farming community whose economic activities include shea butter farming and palm fruit cultivation. It is the first beneficiary of renewable off-grid electricity under the NEP mini grids component which aims to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 300,000 homes and 30,000 local businesses across Nigeria.
REA is the implementing agency tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities. across Nigeria. NEP for its part is an innovative programme to catalyse off-grid development in Nigeria through the provision of grant funding, detailed market data and technical assistance, in collaboration with the World Bank ($350m) and African Development Bank ($200m).
NEPs components include solar hybrid mini grids, solar home systems and the energising education programme. Alhaji Adamu Mohammed Rokota, the local village head, expressed appreciation to the federal government, the World Bank and PowerGen for deploying the solar hybrid mini grid in the community.
REA managing director the Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, added: “There are countless investment opportunities in the off-grid market, which is why the REA is collaborating with private sector solar developers. We are also committed to using renewable energy in the reduction of annual greenhouse carbon emissions by 25,0000 tonnes in adherence to Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank’s Nigeria country director, reiterated the bank’s commitment to promoting universal access to electricity. He noted that the World Bank is committed to reducing the consumption and use of fossil fuels in energy production through renewable energy investments.
Alastair Smith, the managing director of PowerGen Renewable Energy Nigeria, said the implementation of the transformation project is made possible by NEP under a performance-based grant. According to Mr Smith, the project was delivered in record time and also created local jobs.
He added: “We have been able to deliver this solar hybrid mini grid power plant within two months. I am proud to say that the mini grid, with a total solar capacity of 64KW and 360KWh of battery storage, was delivered based on international best practice and standards, while also using local labour and provides sufficient power for about 3,000 people.”