Lack of power supply in federal universities and university teaching hospitals in Nigeria has been cited as a barrier to learning, institutional operations and student residency And considering the role of education in economic growth and socio-economic development in Nigeria, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing resolved to embark on projects that will provide reliable, sustainable and affordable power to our tertiary institutions. One of such projects is the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) designed to implement the energy access and sufficiency action point of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) and it is also incorporated into the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved Power Sector Reform Programme (PSRP).
The decision to seek a sustainable solution to this problem was also informed by the need to alleviate the burden of enormous costs borne by the universities in self-power generation which includes but not limited to the high capital expenditure on diesel run generators and the need to ensure Nigeria adheres to her obligations under the Paris Agreement, through the promotion of renewable and cleaner energy technology, towards reduction of hazardous emissions.
The overall goals and objectives of the EEP include the following:
*To provide off grid captive power plants for 37 federal universities and 7 university teaching hospitals, across the six (6) geopolitical zones;
*Provide street lights to ensure safety for students, staff and visitors of the institutions;
*Rehabilitate, strengthen and extend the existing distribution networks;
*Develop and operate training centres to train and certify students in courses related to renewable energy; and
*Distribute power to surrounding communities in the second tier of each phase as a strategy for rural electrification, subsequently resulting in an increase of economic activity within those communities and general well being.
The EEP Phase 1 Projects will be financed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Gas-fired plants have been recommended for 2 of the Phase 1 Universities/projects, whilst solar hybrids have been recommended for the remaining 7.
Across the North and middle belt of Nigeria, there is adequate sun yield (the amount of energy provided by sunlight), which is most ideal for solar technology solutions. Furthermore, the universities in these locations offer the land sizes needed to deploy the necessary solutions.
As a result, the Solar Hybrid solutions were recommended for Northern universities as they offer the most enabling environment for solar technology.
In the South of Nigeria, the sun yield is also very low and will not able to satisfy the energy requirement of 8MW of energy for a plant.
The minimum land size required for a plant is roughly 5,000 sqm per 1MW, space that the University of Lagos, for instance is not able to provide. Considering the large space of land and high number of solar panels required to service an 8MW power plant, it would not be practical to deploy solar solutions to these universities and as a result, gas-fired plants are the preferred solution due to the availability.
The universities are: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University –Gubi Campus, Bauchi, Solar Hybrid (0.50 MW); Bayero University–New Campus, (3.00); Usuman Danfodiyo University–Main Campus, Sokoto, (2.00 MW); Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, (3.50MW).
Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi, (1.00 MW); Nnamdi Azikwe University-Awka Campus, Anambra, (2.00); Federal University of Petroleum, Delta (0.50MW) Obafemi Awolowo University and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Osun (8.03); University of Lagos, (8.03);
Captive Power Permits
Already, the REA has obtained captive power permits for in accordance with NERC Permits for Captive Power Generation Regulations 2008. The permits were obtained in November , last year, setting the stage for the implementation.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
reports have also been developed and approved by the Ministry of Environment. It was learnt that A Certificate of No Objection to Award Contracts has been issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement for Phase 1 of the EEP.
The issue of sustainability is considered very key to the projects. It is not only important that the projects are not abandoned, but are effectively built, operated and maintained using highly skilled and experienced personnel, as well as, state of the art technology.
Consequently, a provision for one (1) year Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the Projects, has been incorporated. This 1 year O& M forms part of the ten (10) year O&M plan that has been developed for the projects. It is expected that the EPC Contractor will also undertake the O&M for the remaining 9 years of the O&M plan, to ensure seamless operation and maintenance of each projects, to avoid finger pointing/transfer of blame between contractors in the event an issue arises with the operation of the technology, which could potentially result in the halt or delay in services.