UNLOCKING NIGERIA’S ENERGY POTENTIAL: Germany Contributing to Renewable Energy Use in Nigeria
partners and professionals within the Nigerian power sector.
Recently, two off grid projects were launched in Nigeria, one consisting of a partnership between German based solar developer, Pan Africa Solar and BBOXX (PAS BBOXX), adding to the growing momentum of the off grid sector. The first project – headed up by Pan Africa Solar is an 80MW utility scale
Photovoltaic Power Plant located in Katsina State, near the town of Kankia. The project focuses on a stable state in the north of the country, where – due to lack of available hydro resources and gas
supply – renewables are the only long term sustainable option. The project will integrate panels mounted on tilting structures that track the path of the sun throughout the day, constructed on 210 hectares of land.
BBOXX collaborated with Pan Africa Solar on a second project supplying the distributed energy service that is operating in Kano State, Northern Nigeria, with hopes to expand across the country. To date, 2000 people have been impacted by the work in Kano, and the business is currently in the process of scaling its operations. The partnership between BBOXX and PAS is instrumental in leveraging expertise in the off-grid business combined with local market knowledge to successfully scale operations with a goal of electrifying 1 million people by 2020.
According to report, Nigeria has 60 million people who lack access to electricity. But, with the recent movement for the promotion of cleaner and more modern energy has led to significant reforms in the Nigeria power sector. The regulatory space around solar power investments in Nigeria has also seen some transformation, which has served as an incentive for the recent growth in both off grid and on grid solar power developments. The work is far from complete but the willingness of the Nigerian government and policy makers to further develop the space is evident.
One of the most recent and ongoing policy reforms in this direction is the Mini Grids Regulation, the draft of which has been shared by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). NERC stipulates “The object of this regulation is to accelerate electrification in areas without an existing distribution network (“unserved areas”) and areas with an existing but poorly electrified or non-functional distribution grid (“underserved areas”) by attracting (the) participation of the
private sector, communities and Non-Governmental Organizations in achieving nationwide electrification.” Engr. Chinedum Ukabiala, the Deputy General Manager at NERC and the Head of Renewable Research and Development (RRD), indicates that the strategic gains of the Mini Grids
Regulation to market players are that there is the opportunity to start a small business in electricity generation and distribution and then expand to bigger utility companies with the expected
benefits of improved revenues and returns.
He adds that it is easier and simpler to start a small business than large scale businesses in the electricity industry and this is more so when the regulation will be light-handed.
Renewable energy such as solar is best positioned to leverage the improvements in mini grids regulations, given its scalability, ease of deployment and abundance in Nigeria.
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has disclosed that its study on Nigerian mini grid electricity development potential revealed annual investment opportunities of 9.2 billion dollars.
Its Managing Director, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, disclosed this while making a presentation at the mini grid action learning event in Abuja.
Ogunbiyi, who spoke on “Overview of the Off-Grid Opportunities and Challenges in Nigeria“, said there were enormous opportunities than challenges in the provision of electricity through mini grid and solar home systems.
She also disclosed that REA, with the support of the World Bank Group, were working together to provide the required funding for the Nigerian Electrification Programme. According to her,
the support from World Bank is expected to bring in 350 million dollars which would be dedicated to the development of mini grid electricity in Nigeria.
The REA managing director said that Federal Government had created an enabling environment for mini grid operators through the provision of a mini grid regulation. She also said that the REA, through government, had also made provision