…Commissions 47.5 kilowatts solar energy
…As 34 Kaduna Public Healthcare light up
By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government, Thursday, lamented that despite achievements recorded in the areas of power generation and transmission capacity increment, the Distribution Companies, DISCOs, were not doing enough to take the product to the consuming public.
The Minister of Power, Egr. Sale Mamman, who stated this at the commissioning of a 47.5 kilowatts Solar system for Doka General Hospital in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna state, noted that the Distribution Companies, DISCOs, still remained the weak link in the power value chain.
The Solar energy project funded by the European Union, EU, was implemented by the UKaid in partnership with Kaduna State Government.
The minister said, “I will not fail to inform this gathering that our grid power generation capacity today is over 7,500 megawatts, the transmission capacity also improved to 8,100 megawatts.
“This development is responsible for the improvement in power supply that is witnessed by customers all over the country. Distribution remains the weak link within our system and is receiving the desired attention at optimising her operations for the good of all.”
Egr. Mamman explained that the success of the solar project was as a result of policies and regulatory instruments put in place by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, which allow for close collaboration with development partners and private sector.
According to the Minister, the current efforts have provided a solid foundation for the growth of the electricity industry.
He said the project, tagged Kaduna Solar for Health, is conceived under a technical assistance programme, through the Nigerian Solar Programme, which is a bilateral cooperation programme that is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Department for International Department, DFID.
The Minister also said the project was implemented under a framework, which provides sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply consistent with Nigeria’s commitment to achieving United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 7.
“The projects demonstrate how partnership and collaboration among stakeholders can lead to concrete results. In this case, the Department For international Department partnered with Kaduna state government to develop this project, providing reliable electricity supply, which will improve the lives of people through improved; healthcare, education, water and jobs creation.
“It is therefore not a coincidence that we are gathered here to commission this 45.7Kw solar energy system at Doka rural hospital.
“Our being here today reflect a deliberate demonstration of the importance both the state-federal government attached to the provision of electricity in remote and underserved rural communities all over Nigeria using distributed power generation with a locally available resource such as solar. It also demonstrates our appreciation for the support received by the projects from our partners.
“It is important to note the roles being played by the federal and state governments by providing the enabling environment in the form of policy and regulatory frameworks, and basic infrastructural support such as land allocation and provision of access road”.
In his remarks earlier, Ambassador, Head of Delegation, European Union delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, said the EU has always been a strong supporter of innovative initiatives aimed at accelerating the development and improving the lives of Nigerian people.
He described the project as killing two birds with one stone as it combines access to renewable energy and access to basic healthcare.
“Access to affordable energy is a key driver of development and access to effective health service delivery is a cornerstone of any society,” he said.
Also speaking, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i, the Kaduna state governor, noted that the success of the project would not have been possible without the funding provided by the UK Department for International Development.
The governor, who was represented by Hadiza Balarabe, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, said the collaboration between DFID and KDSG has proven to be a huge success as hospitals have recorded a considerable increase in their quality of service and patient patronage.
“With access to the reliable power supply, this 34 Public Healthcare (PHCs) has touched the lives of over 155,000 residents of Kaduna State” he added.
El-Rufa’i declared that with the additional grant of 10 million Euros from the European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS and the state government’s commitment of $8 million, the Kaduna Solar for Health will be extended to all state-owned rural and isolated general hospitals as well as an additional 221 PHCs across the state, bringing the total solar capacity to 3.96MW.