Determined to actualise the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s quest to light up rural communities, the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency, (REA) is currently working on 197 capital projects across the six geo-political zones of the country.
The REA is an agency of the federal government established primarily to provide electricity to rural communities, with a view to boosting the socio-economic lives of the dwellers, as well as discouraging rural-urban migration occasioned by absence of basic amenities.
The managing director of REA, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, who made the disclosure, said the agency also ensures the creation of appropriate tariffs that are economically responsive and appealing to the consuming customers/communities.
Since its establishment in August, 2016, the agency has completed a total of 54 projects (39 inherited, 15 initiated) spread across the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria, in line with its mandate to cover the field.
“The agency, which is currently working on 197 Capital projects within the 6 geo-political zones, supports off-grid development projects which have proven to be more cost-effective than connecting to the grid in remote areas of the country, and also ensures that people function without the support of remote grid infrastructure.
“REA introduced its initiative Energising Economies Initiative (EEP) which aims at helping major markets with challenges of stable power to permanently go off the national grid. And stay connected to either solar or gas power supply. By so doing they help upgrade their economic activities and profitability”, the agency noted.
It will be recalled that sometime in February during the launch of the first phase of the EEP project, at Sabon Gari Market in Kano, Ogunbiyi had explained that the initiative aimed to provide efficient, clean and sustainable power to traders and shop owners in each of the four markets that had been selected as beneficiaries.
They included Sabon Gari (Kano), Ariaria (Aba, Abia State), Somolu Printing Community and Sura Shopping Complex (Lagos. Ogun states).
According to the REA MD, “an energy demand audit conducted, indicated that the four markets would need 36.27 megawatts (MW) of stable electricity to boost their productivity”.
The REA audit also stated that collectively, the 36.27 MW would conveniently serve 50,900 shops that are in the four market.
To meet its interventionist objective of solving the energy deficiency crisis rocking the country through its Off-Grid Electrification Strategy (OES), the REA has started implementing the projects across the four markets through its Energy Economies platform.
The REA has this to say on the agency’s interventions in the aforementioned markets: “While it deploys gas-based electricity for three markets, Kano’s Sabon Gari Market will get power through solar technology. A breakdown of how the energy crisis affecting over 50,900 shops and a customer base of over two million Nigerians will be tackled was provided in a survey report.
“The total energy demand for all 50,900 shops is 36.27MW, with Somolu having the highest demand of 32MW and Sura Shopping Complex having the lowest demand at 0.83MW.
“At the Sabon Gari Market, the survey identified 1.38 megawatts (MW) current energy demand with an estimated total demand of 3.29mw. REA has recommended deploying just 1mw decentralized Solar Home Systems (SHS) to tackle the 1.38mw energy load requirement without any backup generator or a complementary power solution.
“The market is relatively the biggest market in the North with over 13,000 shops. It is managed by Amalgamated Traders’ Welfare Association (AMATA). The market which was built in 1914 covers 22 hectares with over 13,000 shops. Breakdown of load requirement shows that the traders use 0.56mw for lighting, 0.72mw for cooling and 0.09mw for other appliances.
“The 250 traders surveyed said they spent about N10,000 monthly on electricity and another N20,000 on generator expenses communally in an arrangement called Maja, where they paid from N200 above for eight hours.
Blocks C and D and Yan Kura areas of the market were noted to have the highest consumption due to the density of shops.”
Above all, the agency noted thus: “From the surveys and investigations on the REA, it is obvious that the plan of the government is remarkable and a step in the right direction for the inclusion of renewable energy in Nigeria. which is lie with the sustainable development goals of the UN and shows Nigeria is conscious of the environment and climate change.”
This was as it maintained that it does not exist as a duplication of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
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