EU, REA plan accelerated deployment of electricity using mini grids

Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) would work with the European Union and German Government through the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) – a programme implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), to speed up deployment of off grid electricity to more Nigerians using the mini grid model, OGN has learnt.

According to a notice the REA recently put out, it would work with these entities to deploy isolated mini-grid projects. It also noted that a call for submission of proposals for these projects would kick off in February 2019, and interested and eligible beneficiaries would be invited to attend a stakeholders’ workshop on the project.

The workshop, it noted would help sensitize project developers and other stakeholders including Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing (FMPWH); Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC); state commissioners in charge of rural electrification and energy; electricity distribution companies (Discos); mini-grid developers; and mini-grid financiers, on the nature of the mini-grid acceleration scheme (MAS).

Recently, the Executive Director of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) at the REA, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare, hinted of this in an interaction with journalists in Abuja.

“I told you we had just N2 billion in the REF account, and once we finish it, the next time we get funding, maybe from the government, we can continue but before then we are already in talks with the NESP-GIZ to see how we can quickly start the next call which will be called the mini grid acceleration scheme done in collaboration with the REA and anchored in the REF.

“The money will not be government money but from the European Union and German government which were part of our first call and supported us and believe in the progress we made to now support us with in-kind funding and not cash like we are doing. They will kind of procure the assets and we will support with selection and other things. These are ways to keep working,” Ohiare said to journalists during the signing of agreement to hand over capital subsidy from the REF to select operators for rural electrification projects.