By CHRIS OCHAYI
ABUJA: The Federal Government has disclosed that accelerated rural electrification will henceforth be driven by renewable energy because of its sustainability and environmental friendliness.
The Minister of State for Power, Mr. Mohammed Wakil, made this disclosure at the opening of the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, in Abuja.
He said the new approach to powering the rural area will involve a mix of wind, solar, biomass, hydro energy alongside the conventional source of power supply.
Wakil said the renewed focus on rural electrification is a fallout of the completion of the power sector privatisation, which made it imperative for the administration to focus on rural areas where close to 70 percent of the populace are residing.
According to him, “now that privatisation is completed and we are addressing the teething problems, associated with post-privatisation, the administration is determined to focus on the rural areas where we have close to 70 percent of our people.
“As most of these areas are not connected to the national grid, renewable energy provides an alternative and this is what we have started doing.
“We have to provide for the majority of our people in the rural areas, in this regard, hence our focus on rural electrification through renewable energy. The Rural Electrification Agency is going to play crucial roles in this new focus and that is why it has to be repositioned to meet the aspirations of Mr. President and Nigerians in general,” he said.
Describing renewable energy as a worldwide trend in energy provision, the minister recalled that a recent United Nations’ Conference adopted this line of thought as a way to empower the under-served and under-empowered areas of the world, while at the same time saving the environment for the future generation.
Responding on behalf of the REA Board, its Chairman, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, commended decisions of the minister to strengthen the agency to meet the challenges of rural electrification through renewable energy sources.
According to him, the board and the management are united in realising the mandate of the agency under the supervision of the ministry, while commending the minister for the various initiatives designed to strengthen the operational efficiency of the agency.
“We promise to stand by the direction and goals of Mr. President as listed by the Minister. We share the vision of powering our rural areas through a mixture of conventional and renewable energy. We will re-rededicate ourselves to the realisation of this laudable agenda,” he said.