….Assures 1million household power supply
By Prince Okafor
The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has promised to render operators of electricity generating sets in rural areas “jobless”, as the federal government moves to boost power supply in the nation.
Prof Osinbajo, who made the promise at the Nigerian Renewable Energy Roundtable in Abuja, yesterday, stated that the federal government, through the Rural Electrification Agency was developing an energy database that will show community locations and energy demand profiles.
“We are doing 20,000 more homes in this first phase of this exercise and a Pay-As-You-Go system to 20,000 households to provide access to lighting and electric power for small devices. The plan is to expand the Solar Home System program to 1 million households, creating a few more million jobs.
“We are also championing the use of mobile money for solar home system payments to provide access to lighting and electric power for small devices,” he said.
Commenting on his Wuna, (a rural village in Gwagwalada Local Government of the Federal Capital Territory), experience, he noted that the village is now enjoying power through renewable energy initiative by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).
He said: “I was in Wuna to see it for myself. For the first time in their existence, the village now has running water, solar powered. The school has power and the school hall is now used as a community hall in the evenings. Each home has four points of light.
“Children can now stay up and do some studying at night. Many of Wuna’s women can now process their millet and yams at night. New jobs have been created, solar installers, maintenance, payment systems and so on.
“One guy has lost his business in Wuna, the phone charger. Every household can now charge their phones. But he now charges phones of residents of other villages, he noted.
Osinbajo further said that “The Wuna home solar project is an example of how we can creatively and aggressively provide power to our people by this pragmatic approach to our energy mix.
“We are convinced that renewable energy probably offers us the most sustainable means of increasing energy access to those who have no electricity and have no immediate hope of being connected to the National grid.”
In his opening remarks, Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said his ministry was committed to pursuing alternative energy sources, assuring that it would continue as instrument of diversification in conjunction with the private sector.
The acting president also revealed that the government would embark on a broader restructuring of the electricity sector and strive to achieving a more systematic development power market design especially for the renewable energy.
He, therefore, stressed the need for a framework that would bring together all stakeholders towards ensuring that “renewable energy becomes a real engine of growth for the Nigerian economy’’
He said the attention on renewable energy would benefit the rural areas and help create jobs as stated in the government’s economic recovery growth plan (ERGP).
He disclosed that the government was also championing the use of mobile money for solar home system payment.
In same vein, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Prof. Ajayi Boroface, noted that the global effort in mitigating climate change would favour the demand for renewal energy and the abundance of the resources globally.
He expressed delight that the federal government had keyed into the renewable energy sector.
“From what I have heard from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Power, that Nigeria has put in place the necessary policy and institutional framework, and also the legal and regulatory framework for us to effectively participate in this sector.”
“I want to assure the executive arm of government that the national assembly will be very excited to work with you to ensure that the number of the required laws are put in place to create an enabling environment for us to exploit these resources effectively for the development of our country,’’ he added.