First phase of universities’ electricity program to connect 224,800 people – REA

*Gets regulatory nod to proceed, first phase for 28.56MW gets underway

As much as 224,800 people living within or around nine federal universities and a teaching hospital selected for the first phase of the Energizing Education Programme (EEP), would be connected to the 28.56 megawatts (MW) of electricity expected to be generated from the hybrid solar power plants to be built in universities, an energy audit report of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has disclosed.

According to a concept note obtained from the REA, the first phase of the EEP has been approved to go on in universities that include the University of Lagos, Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Bayern University Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, and Obafemi Awolowo University Osun, amongst others.

Within the first phase, 28.56MW would be procured for generation, from which access to education and offerings of the universities would be expected to be improved on.

“Energy audits were conducted for all the federal universities and the adjoining university teaching hospitals across the country to determine the energy consumption and future load growth of each of the institutions and the results derived there from were then used to develop the business case and subsequent Standard Bidding Documents (SBD) for the procurement of goods, works and services required for the EEP,” said the REA in the note.

It added: “The energy audits also revealed a total population of 224,800 across the phase 1 universities, thereby further justifying the necessity of the EEP phase 1 projects. This significant number indicates the number of residents, students and staff that will be positively impacted, as it relates to well being, security, quality of learning and services provided and overall socio-economic development of the country.”

Justification for the EEP

According to the REA, the program was initiated to help the universities cutdown on their expenses on fossil fuel generating sets, or on-grid power supplies. They would also help the university communities become economically viable.

“Access to uninterrupted power supply in federal universities and university teaching hospitals in Nigeria has been cited as a major challenge and barrier to effective learning, institutional operations and student residency.

“Considering the role of education in economic growth and socio-economic development in Nigeria, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing resolved to embark on viable projects that will ensure the availability of reliable, sustainable and affordable power to our tertiary institutions. This led to the conception of the EEP,” it explained.

According to it: “The EEP is one of the programmes designed to implement the energy access and sufficiency action point of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) and it is also incorporated into the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved Power Sector Reform Programme (PSRP), as a vital component of the PSRP.”

It noted that the decision to seek a sustainable solution to this problem was also informed by the need to alleviate the burden of enormous costs borne by the universities in self-power generation which includes but is not limited to the high capital expenditure on diesel run generators and the need to ensure Nigeria adheres to her obligations under the Paris Agreement, through the promotion of renewable and cleaner energy technology.

Decision to phase the projects

On why it chose to phase the projects, the REA said: “Due to cost implications and time constraints, the projects under the EEP cannot be implemented at the same time; therefore, the EEP has been divided into phases. Phase I was designed for the generation of 28.56MW covering nine federal universities and one university teaching hospital across the six geopolitical zones.”

It said gas fired plants were the recommended solutions for two of the projects in phase one, while solar hybrids were recommended for the remaining seven.

It added that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has also granted its regulatory approval for the projects.

“In accordance with NERC Permits for Captive Power Generation Regulations 2008, REA vide a letter ref: REA/01/MDCEO/NERC/10/VOL.1/2017/116 dated 27 June 2017, applied for the permits to operate the captive power plants for the EEP phase one projects. The captive power permits have been granted vide a letter ref NERC/07/LLC/17/KG/298 and dated 13 day of November 2017,” explained the REA.

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