Exclusive: How the Rural Electrification Project is Lighting up Nigeria With Renewable Energy(Photos)

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SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 26 – Recently, President Buhari’s media aide on New Media, Bashir Ahmad tweeted about how the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria(REAN) has been powering hundreds of shops at the Sabon Gari Market in Kano with clean and stable electricity.

In Nigeria, where power supply from the National Grid is abysmal and epileptic, Sabon gari Market in Kano is an exception not the norm. The electricity supplied to this market is not from the National grid. It is generated from Solar Energy produced under a special programme set up by the government.

REA is the Official Government Agency that Promotes, Coordinates and Provides Rural Electrification Across Nigeria. It was set up by Section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005, and the Board and Management of the Agency were inaugurated on March 16, 2006.

Since then, it has been responsible for implementing the Federal Government of Nigeria’s commitment to aggressive rural electrification.

To connect off grid communities across the country to electricity through renewable power sources, the REA, in conjunction with the World Bank embarked upon the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), a private sector driven initiative that has provided electricity access to several households, micro, small and medium enterprises across the countries. According to the NEA, one of the goals of the NEP is to provide reliable power supply for 250,000 (MSMEs) and 1 million households.

Today’s Echo gathers that the pilot phase of the project which is ongoing, will provide off-grid electricity for 50 communities in 4 states. Furthermore, 37 Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals will be supplied with electricity via solar energy.

Silently, the REA’s NEP is emerging a success story in Nigeria. Gradually, several villages, schools, hospitals and markets are being lit up successfully as the REA deploys its solar electric projects across the length and breadth of the country.

One of the latest projects of the REA is the Upake project. On Monday, 19th Aug, 2019, REA commissioned the first Rural Electrification Fund (REF) minigrid at Upake in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, based on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model.

“Over 2,879 people in Upake are now connected, more in Obangede,” according to the REA.

2 , 879 people in Upake and more in the neighbouring Obangede community in Ajaokuta now powered with clean, safe and reliable energy. Upake is the first of 12 communities on the first call of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF).

Below are some of the projects recently carried out by the REA:

On August 2, Today’s ECho reported that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo commissioned a 2.8 MW decentralized solar hybrid power plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo(FUNAI). The FUNAI Project is Nigeria’s first solar hybrid power plant, constructed under the Energising Education Program, with active participation of female students of the university.

According to Damilola Ogunbiyi, MD/CEO, REA, in a bid to foster female participation in the power sector, under the EEP STEM Female Internship Programme, 20 female students at FUNAI, received technical and practical training during the construction phase of the project

“I am proud of the young women here today,under the EEP female STEM internship programme, who have been undergoing practical training in the construction of a captive power plant & renewables workshop/training center, as well as in the installation of streetlights.

“I stand before you all today with a deep sense of pride and honor knowing that we have all collaborated to bring positive change to our educational system,” Osinbajo said.

Today’s Echo gathered that the Solar Hybrid Power project currently powers 287 street lights installed at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi state spanning 7.5km

The project is expected to provide sustainable decentralized energy to the entire campus, improve education and create a better university experience for both students and staff.

Expressing his delight with the project, Osinbajo said:

“It is our duty to aid students to accomplish their goals by providing a conducive learning environment for them. I am glad to be a part of this great feat as we commission this 2.8 MW decentralized solar hybrid power plant.”

REA has revealed that Bayero University, Kano(BUK) is next. According to the REA, a 7.1MW Solar Hybrid Power Plant is being constructed to serve the University.

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