AfDB, EU mull plans to catalyse Nigeria’s electricity connection to 95m rural dwellers

Afdb, eu mull plans to catalyse nigeria’s electricity connection to 95m rural dwellersThe European Union (EU) and African Development Bank (AfDB) are in the process of redefining their financing grants to catalyse Nigeria’s electricity industry to bridge the supply gap that has left about 95 million rural dwellers in darkness.

Chief Adetayo Olowoniyi, the Chief Technical Adviser, Federal Ministry of Power, made this known in Lagos on Tuesday while addressing the media at the opening of the Energy Access Investment Forum (EAIF).

According to Olowoniyi, the EU said that Nigeria’s weak grid system has shut out a significant number of people out of the electricity market and they have been in darkness for decades.

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He said that it was still not clear as to how and when this population would be energised.

Olowoniyi said that the country’s intervention capacity would not be adequate enough to provide electricity to that large population.

He highlighted the difficulties in achieving the mandate, adding that the forum was the top annual investment event for the renewable electrification sector.

He said that the forum also fostered business and investor partnerships for the purpose of sustainable electricity access, decarbonisation, economic growth and fight against climate change.

“The EAIF 2024 is organised by the Alliance for Rural Electrification co-hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, and supported by GET.

The technical adviser said that except private investments were expanded and sustained the existing gap in the system would be difficult to bridge.

However, Mr Abba Aliyu, the acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), said the Agency had sustained off-grid deployment across the country with the aim to reducing the yawning gap.

According to Aliyu, the Agency is utilising the $750 million grant to provide access to a good number of people and is gradually and sustainably inching to achieve the set target.

He said the World Bank approved the Nigeria Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project, being financed by $750 million International Development Association (IDA) credit.

“This would leverage over $1 billion of private capital and significant parallel financing from development partners.

“The financing from development partners include $100 million from the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet and $200 million from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“Other development partners collaborating on the programme include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the German Development Agency (GIZ), SEforAll, and the African Development Bank (AfDB),” Aliyu added.

The REA CEO noted that the DARES project, “aimed at providing over 17.5 million Nigerians with either new or improved access to electricity through distributed renewable energy solutions.

“The DARES project will use innovative financing solutions to scale up private sector-led clean electricity provision in Nigeria.

“About 95 million Nigerians lack access to electricity; businesses and households with access to the national grid have faced unreliable and insufficient supply.

“A gap often filled with power from petrol and diesel-run generator sets that are costly and highly polluting to people and the environment.

“To further address the access gap, DARES will build on the achievements of the World Bank-financed Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP).

“This has supported the establishment of 125 mini grids and the sale of over a million Solar Home Systems, through which more than 5.5 million Nigerians have gained access to electricity.

“We are committed to expanding clean energy-based access in Nigeria, with the $750 million Nigeria,” Aliyu said.

Providing further information on EU intervention, Inga Stefanowicz, said the Union had provided support for Nigeria’s renewable energy market, aimed at providing energy efficiency (industry, building and appliances, policy, regulatory and institutional framework support).

This, she said, had provided jobs for youths and women with greater intervention in On- and Off-grid renewable energy infrastructure investment.

According to her, there are also ongoing projects in the energy sector and currently the EUD has nine active project in the energy sector, including Small Hydro Power Development for Agro-industry Use in Nigeria.

Stefanowicz revealed some funding in advancing Nigeria’s green and just transition to Net Zero through circular economy practices with about €4 million implemented by UNIDO and another €1.7 million for Nigeria Solar for Health Project implemented by
NTU International.

“There is also an additional €30 million project implemented by EDFI MC (consortium of European Development Finance Institutions)
plus €60 million loan from AFD).

“Implemented by AFD, also in the Northern corridor, Katsina-Kano transmission line coating €25 million plus €220 million loan from AFD), all dedicated to improving the power sector,” she said.