About 55,000 people in Nigeria will soon be able to enjoy the benefit of round-the-clock electricity. This electricity is thanks to an initiative recently announced by on- and off-grid energy distribution developer PowerGen.
At the end of August, PowerGen stated that they had secured financing for a long-term initiative to provide electricity to nearly 55.000 people in rural Nigeria through CrossBoundary Energy Access (CBEA.) Upon its completion, electricity will be generated by 28 distributed renewable energy systems (DREs) utilizing solar PV and battery-driven micro-grids.
The initiative is supported in part by a grant from the World Bank. Its construction will be financed with funds from Oikocredit, Triodos Investment Management (TriodosIM), and the European Union-funded Electrification Financing Initiative (EDFI Electrifi.) The Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) under the Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency will also provide a fixed grant for every customer connected to the mini-grid system.
Under the operating guidelines, PowerGen will build the grid system and serve as the project’s long-term operator. CBEA will take over the initiative itself on completion, which will allow investors to put their money into the construction of the project. As the primary asset owner, CBEA will invest in the long-term phase of operations.
An Unprecedented Initiative
The PowerGen initiative is the largest mini-grid project in all of Africa and will serve residential, commercial, and even industrial customers upon its completion.
This project is also seen as both an unprecedented and timely move. While Nigeria is the largest economy in the African continent, a lack of access to sustainable and reliable power sources continues to hamper its growth, especially among rural communities where less than 25 percent have electrical power.
Much of the country relies on fossil fuels as an alternative, hence using gas-powered generators and kerosene lamps. While these bring power and illumination into homes, these are detrimental to the environment in terms of reduced air quality, carbon emissions, and noise pollution. In addition, the use of fossil-fueled alternatives has also had a detrimental effect on the health of rural residents.
Towards a Brighter Future
It is expected that the DREs developed under this project will help generate clean, reliable electricity to the target areas, mitigating over 2,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year – essentially the same amount removed by keeping 500 cars off the road.
The addition of sustainable electricity to the rural scene is also predicted to stimulate the economy at the community level. It is forecasted to reduce the cost of power generation, increase access to productive power, mechanize agriculture, and power various items used in different professions such as construction tools and cooking appliances.
At present, six sites have already been commissioned under the NEP Performance-Based Grant program, including the pilot site in Rokota.