Starting with the University of Ibadan, 39 other federal universities may soon quit the national electricity grid, to take all of their electricity supplies from off-grid renewable energy solutions – preferably solar power.
Based on an agreement with the German government under the Nigerian-German Energy Partnership Project, solar power farms would be built across 40 universities of the federal government.
The government on Thursday officially flagged off the first of such plants under the initiative in the University of Ibadan.
The solar farm in the University of Ibadan will when completed in six months, generate and supply up to 10 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity to the school, although reports say the school only needs about 6-8MW.
Media reports quoted the minister of state for education, Anthony Anwukah who flagged off the project on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari to have said that the initiative will move from Ibadan to other universities.
“That the project is commencing at the University of Ibadan should not surprise anyone. This is where the story of university education in Nigeria started,” said Anwukah.
He said the government recently launched a programme – the Energizing Education Programme Initiative (EEPI) for this purpose, and that the EEPI is a collaborative effort of the ministries of education and power, works and housing to get the 40 federal universities off the grid.
“The EEPI is aimed at providing reliable power supply which, in turn, will promote economic growth and sustainable development in our Universities,” he stated.
According to him, the government’s funding input for the initiative will come from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
When completed, he said Ibadan would also become a center for research on renewable energy technology in Nigeria.
“Government is keenly interested in this project, and its timely completion and effective utilization will inform an extension of the project to other Universities.
“It is expected that the faculties of science and technology and the Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law would take advantage of his project to enhance the capacity of their staff, while embarking on further research in renewable energy resources,” added Anwukah.
German ambassador to Nigeria, Bernard Schlagheck, said at the event that more than two years of negotiations was put into the project conception. He stated it will be completed and ready for commissioning in next six months.
The Nigerian-German Energy Partnership is a business-to-business platform launched under the auspices of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power.
It seeks to foster beneficial ties between German and Nigerian companies in the power sector, and one of its key initiatives is the construction of large-scale solar power plants across the country.