NERC’s mini grid regulation targets more power for rural communities

The new mini grid regulation currently being worked on by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) will push to drive new and improved investments in energy supply solutions to rural communities in Nigeria, the chairman of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah has said.

Akah said the regulation will in addition to NERC’s push for deployment of renewable energy sources, help cut the deficit in power supplies to rural communities.

“To close the rural–urban energy access gap, a regulatory framework has been developed to support mini-grid in rural areas. It is currently undergoing public consultation,” Akah said at the 2016 World Energy Day celebration in Abuja.

A symposium to mark this day was organised by the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE).

Akah also said the regulator has developed other revolutionary regulations to encourage investment in renewable energy solutions in the country.

According to him:  “NERC‘s strategy is to use regulatory instruments to promote not only the conventional sources but all options for sustainability including: energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean coal technology, rural electrification, mini grid and distributed generation.”

He however said it was obvious private sector funding to close power supply gap in the country will not come unless they are sure of favourable return on their investment.

“We must therefore take measures to de-risk investment in power supply infrastructure to attract necessary financing.

“We must craft innovative policy, legislative and regulatory framework to attract traditional and new classes of investors,” Akah explained.

“While we are open to all supply options, including the possibility of energy import, NERC has put in place the regulatory framework to attract renewable energy based power and promote sustainable energy for economic growth. This include the renewable energy feed-in tariff regulation, net metering, and bulk procurement regulation and regulation on embedded generation,” he added.