Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Rural Electrification Agency has announced its readiness to use the Rural Electrification Fund in providing 75 per cent of the total cost of selected rural power projects.
It stated that the move was to further accelerate the target of attaining 30,000 megawatt of power generation by 2030.
The Managing Director, REA, Damilola Ogunbiyi, who stated this at a stakeholders’ engagement workshop on REF in Abuja, stressed that the fund would create an enabling environment for private sector participation in providing more access to electricity for rural dwellers.
She said REA had prioritised access to energy so as to boost economic activities in major markets in Nigeria, adding that part of the off-grid electrification efforts would start at the Ariaria Market in Abia, Sabon Gari in Kano, and Shomolu in Lagos.
REA recently completed the guidelines for the operation of REF which would allow rural power developers to get between N3.5m and N106m to improve rural electricity.
On the project type of grant available, the agency stated that for infrastructure projects such as grid extension, interconnected mini-grid, isolated mini-grid and isolated micro/nano grids, a minimum of $10,000 (N3.5m) and maximum of $300,000 (N106m), or 75 per cent of the total project cost, whichever was less, could be given as grant.
It also stated that for non-infrastructure projects such as stand-alone systems, i.e., including solar home systems and solar lanterns, a minimum of $10,000 (N3.5m) and a maximum of $300,000 (N106m), or 50 per cent of the total project cost, whichever was less, could be given as grant.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, also stated recently that REF would help private rural power developers, the NGOs and communities that might get a capital subsidy of N3.5m to N106m to cover 75 per cent of the project cost.
“The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and/or technical assistance to eligible private rural power developers, the NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity,” Fashola said.
In his remarks at the stakeholders’ meeting, the Director of Promotions, REA, Ayang Ogbe, said Section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 empowered the agency to use REF mechanism to promote grid extension so that the private sector could also be involved.
According to him, on completion of the workshop, meant to create more awareness about the opportunity across the states, implementation of REC would commence in earnest.
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