Through the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), the Federal Government of Nigeria, in a bid to meet its climate obligations has procured funding from the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) to bridge the gap of energy access in communities across the country. Also, for the provision of the needed technical expertise to help in addressing issues relating to power supplies in the country, the government partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Nigeria Power Sector Program, GIZ’s Nigeria Energy support Program (NESP) and other development partners.
The Head of the Project Management Unit at the Nigeria Electrification Project, Anita Otubu gave further clarifications as to the significant energy access work that is currently being implemented by NEP IN Nigerian communities. The implementation of the project is done by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), established to cover the energy access gap between the underserved and unserved, stressing on the last-mile areas. This, however, has to be done with renewable energy resources, considering Nigeria’s climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement.
Incentives will make the projects more attractive.
The government is likewise resolving to embark on renewable energy off-grid solutions in line with isolated and interconnected mini-grids, solar home systems and captive solar hybrid power plants. Private owners of businesses are also encouraged to partner with distribution companies for the assurance of access to a reliable power supply in a particular region or community. To ensure universal access to power, the government works with Private sector players who are capable of securing financing for the increment of energy access.
The provision of incentives makes off-grid projects in rural communities more attractive. Therefore, the REA’s NEP ensures the provision of grant subsidies, data, and legal/regulatory advisory support to the companies, to cover the viability gap and give morale to the private sector players to venture into remote communities for the provision of energy access. The NEP is also embedded with five components which are Solar Hybrid Mini grids, Stand Alone Solar Home Systems, Energizing Education Program Phase 2&3, Productive Use Equipment and Appliances for Mini Grid Communities and Technical Assistance.
The private sector is responsible for the protection of the mini grids.
Due to the privatized nature of the private sector, the government is excluded from the obligation of generating and distributing power supplies the same way as private sector companies. It rather performs the function of supervision and support through the provision of an enabling environment (for example, establishing the mini grid regulation), incentives such as grant subsidies, low-interest loans and data that would enable a company to have adequate confidence to invest in the project. The private sector companies are responsible for the protection of the mini grids as they are allowed to run them for 10 to 15 years.
The introduction of mini grids to remote communities is without the intention of overburdening residents with little or no access to financial resources. However, there will be an understanding of how users pay for their preferred source of alternative power supply. Also, in relation to the analysis of the amount that they are able to pay for alternative power supply, a tariff will be easily set up. The private sector companies also provide productive use equipment and appliances in these communities for the stimulation of the load demand and generation of revenue for end users.
NEP has positively impacted over 3 million Nigerians.
NEP targets all states of the country, having completed 65 mini grids that are spread across the country and achieved the deployment of more than 770,000 solar home systems that have had positive impacts in the lives of about 3 million Nigerians. The electrification project is also at the verge of signing contracts with Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractors for the building of captive power plants for federal universities, as contained under the energizing education program phase II.