Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
In a bid to expand access to clean energy for 17.5 million Nigerians, the World Bank has approved the Nigeria Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project, being financed by $750 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and 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).
In a statement yesterday, the World Bank said the DARES project aims to provide over 17.5 million Nigerians with 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.
“As of 2021, over 85 million Nigerians lacked 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), which 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.
“NEP has also resulted in the creation of over 5,000 private-sector local green jobs in Nigeria,” the statement explained.
According to the global development institution, the DARES programme would enable the Federal Government of Nigeria to coordinate and finance all off-grid electrification efforts and would help states access technical assistance to develop institutional capacity and policy frameworks for rooftop solar.
Also, the programme would prioritise gender and inclusion by building on the NEP’s gender-related actions to facilitate access to electricity for disadvantaged female-headed households and women-led MSMEs, as well as actions to increase the employment of women in the energy sector.
“We are committed to expanding clean energy-based access in Nigeria, with the $750 million Nigeria
DARES project being the largest ever single distributed energy project of the World Bank globally.
“It will benefit over 17.5 million unserved, underserved, rural, and remote Nigerians through the deployment of standalone solar and mini grids and replace more than 280,000 polluting and expensive petrol and diesel generator sets, an important step for Nigeria towards achieving its energy transition targets,” World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri said.
“Through the DARES project, Nigeria will be able to provide up to 237,000 MSMEs with reliable and clean electricity for productive uses that will help improve their potential to generate income and create local jobs.
“I am excited to contribute to this revolutionary movement, emphasising innovative financial instruments like the DARES program. These initiatives not only unlock the full potential of the off-grid sector but also fuel investments, propelling forward clean energy solutions.
“The ripple effect reaches unserved and underserved communities, unlocking access to a realm of clean and equitable energy for all. It’s a powerful journey of empowerment and transformation,” said Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adebalu.
The DARES programme would support Nigeria in closing its electricity access gap and accelerate its transition towards sustainable, efficient, and economically viable electricity supply, demonstrating what could be achieved through effective collaboration and partnerships between the Government, private sector, and development partners.