The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in collaboration with the Power Africa Nigeria Power Support Program and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and held a kick-off webinar focusing on productive Use Appliances and Equipment in Off-Grid Communities of the AfDB-financed Nigeria Electrification Project.
The objective of the project termed ‘component II ‘ is to increase the productive use of energy in rural communities by facilitating access to efficient, electric productive equipment,while providing energy access for about 100 million off grid Nigerians.
Managing Director of REA Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad noted in his opening remarks that , “The component II event marks a milestone in the implementation of the African Development Bank funded Nigeria Electrification Project where mini-grid developers are supported through the productive use subsidy program to encourage the use of low-cost productive use appliances at solar mini-grid electrified communities in order to improve economic activities.”
According to him,the component uses a result-based framework for investors and energy access companies to incorporate the distribution and sale of energy-efficient productive use appliances in their regular line of activities.
He stated that it also serves to activate the productive use appliance market and make productive uses of power a critical enabler to sustainable economic development while scaling up energy access. It will also encourage developers to make productive use of power and energy-efficient appliances a part of their overall strategy for mini-grid viability.
This Component will further target operating private mini-grid developers and prospective energy access businesses in Nigeria preparing business plans and incorporating the pre-determined Performance Based Grant in their financial projections. The grant will be available for existing businesses who have developed sustainable business plans for the deployment of their systems with productive appliances and equipment for off-grid communities. Applications for the grant will be considered on a rolling basis.
Speaking further on the webinar, he stated that it was geared towards familiarity g the participants with the proposed subsidy program for productive loads under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) by AfDB and present the findings of a detailed study on agricultural loads conducted by the Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Programme (NPSP). It also sought inputs from the participants to enhance the structure and effectiveness of the proposed subsidy program and its deployment.
Representative of the African Development Bank, Chukuwdozie Okpalaobieri, sitting in for Mamadou Diagne, Chief Regional Program Officer, reiterated the importance of this Component in achieving Nigeria’s development objectives, “It is well known that Energy access can be a critical enabler of economic development, particularly when coupled with productive uses of energy. The Bank is pleased with the level of participation during the webinar and critical inputs to build on the design of the component”.
The Head of NEP-AfDB Project Management Unit, Kenny Anuwe, stated “We implore developers to use this opportunity towards stimulating economic growth of beneficiary communities”
Energy Advisor and Acting USAID Power Africa Team Lead, Narlene Egu, stated “Mini-grid developers play a key role towards what is set to be achieved with this component of the programme. We will continue to interact with key stakeholders to ensure its sustainability.
A participant, Anayo Okenwa Nas Chief Executive Officer, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited, stated “An enlightening webinar I must commend. Developers now fully understand the requirements and expectations of delivering quality services to project beneficiaries and the practice of encouraging smart economic returns for rural electricity users through the use of energy-efficient productive appliances.”
The webinar it would noted was interactive with contributions from participants on experiences in deploying mini-grids in communities across the country. Several questions were asked during the session and responses were provided by panelists and experts in the field.
The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) under the Federal Ministry of Power tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities to catalyze economic growth and improve quality of life for Nigerians.
REA it would be noted is currently implementing the Nigeria Electrification Project, Energizing Economies Initiative, Energizing Education Programme, Rural Electrification Fund, Energy Database and Capital projects.
The Agency is also responsible for creating an enabling environment for private sector-led projects which includes conducting pre-feasibility assessments, energy audits, enumeration, data analysis, identification of qualified private sector developers, and project stakeholder engagements.