The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is eyeing more investment in Nigeria’s energy by increasing the licensing threshold for mini-grids from 1MW to 5MW as part of its engagements with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The REA Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad said Nigeria’s energy transition fuels the agency’s review and update of regulations for mini-grids.
Ahmad in his keynote address at the just concluded Nigeria Energy Leadership Summit , said the agency is ready to receive investors as it has “demonstrated the ability to scale off-grid energy programmes and projects by leveraging on public and development funding to catalyse massive investment flows that deliver value for all stakeholders.”
“The market is available, the sector has been derisked (and is still being de-risked with follow-on interventions), and we have demonstrated the will and capacity to support the energy transition, thus we welcome investments in off-grid energy projects to achieve the same,” Ahmad told participants of the energy leadership summit.
Ahmad pointed to the off-grid energy systems as a major project that the REA finances to “improve the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians, especially those in unserved and underserved rural locations.”
The REA CEO defined off-grid systems as small standalone energy systems that can power single buildings using standalone solar home systems.
Ahmad said that off-grid systems are powered by solar, wind, biomass or other renewable energy sources and can power entire clusters or communities without any connection to the main grid.
The REA CEO said the agency has occasioned the sales of over 1.4 million units of solar home systems, and deployed over 500 mini-grids in rural communities and primary healthcare centres in Nigeria.
In addition, the REA has achieved electrification or in-the-process electrification of 24 federal universities with captive solar power plants and has deployed Productive Use of Energy (PUE) equipment in agricultural clusters, Ahmad said.
“These have translated into over 1 million off-grid electricity connections that have directly impacted and provided energy access for over 9 million Nigerians,” he added.
Ahmad attributed the impact of the REA to the Nigeria Electrification Project which is funded by The World Bank and Africa Development Bank.
He said the REA also administers and implements other projects under the Rural Electrification Fund, including the REA Capital Projects, the Energizing Education Programme, the Energizing Economies Initiative; which is led by the private sector, the $300 million Solar Power Naija debt lending facility and the 9.3 million euros Interconnected Mini-grid Acceleration Scheme.
The REA CEO attributed the agency’s impact to its leadership and its leading development partners who work closely with them to provide technical assistance and strengthen local institutional capacities.
Ahmad said the agency’s partners include Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), among others.