Nigeria’s President switches on 9.5MW off-grid power plant in south-eastern market

Short of any unforeseen development, Nigeria’s president, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, would on Tuesday commission a 9.5 megawatts (MW) electricity generation plant built by private investors with support from the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) at the Ariaria international market in Aba area of Abia State, OGN has learnt.

Undertaken under the Energising Economies Initiative (EEI) of the REA, the off grid power plant was granted regulatory licence by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) within the embedded electricity generation and independent electricity distribution guidelines of the commission.

Both licenses were given to Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited and Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited, according to Section 71(6) of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005.

OGN gathered from reliable sources in the REA that Buhari, would commission the project which has actually been operational for a while now on Tuesday afternoon at the expansive market. The sources explained it was in continuation of the EEI of REA.

After Lagos’ Sura, Iponri next

Also, in the same vein, the REA in a recent statement said the country’s power minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had inspected another off grid power system expected to be commissioned at the Iponri market in Lagos soon.

It explained the Iponri market solar electrification project would provide electricity to shops at the complex located in Surulere part of Lagos, adding that a private developer – Iponri Market Energy Solutions Limited (IMESL) was in charge of the project.

“It (Iponri) attracts customers from all over the country as it serves the exponentially growing wedding and party industry in the country. Businesses in Iponri market are mainly souvenir shops, electronic products, tailoring, financial and printing services.

“The market is being electrified with world-class solar stand-alone systems technology within hubs installed across the market. It also has an onsite state-of-the-art customer service shop with an extensive remote sensing network set up and managed by IMESL,” said the REA statement.

450 shops in the market, it added, are currently metered and energized with the remaining shops expected to be completed later this year.

Quoting Fashola, the statement said: “The people that drive our economy deserve reliable electricity. They are in markets, they are in shopping malls, they are in corners, they are in small shops. They constitute the best in any economy.”

Also, in the statement, REA’s Managing Director, Damilola Ogunbiyi, said: “Iponri further underscores the federal government of Nigeria’s commitment to the deployment of clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions in our markets by providing the enabling environment for targeted economic growth through private sector partnerships.”

The government through the REA implements the EEI to support the rapid deployment of off grid electricity solutions to provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity to economic clusters like market places, shopping centres, industrial facilities in Nigeria through private sector developers.

According to the REA, the EEI would assist over 80,000 shops gain clean electricity within a year, empower over 340,000 micro, small and medium size enterprises, create over 2,500 jobs within the initial 16 economic clusters while serving over 18 million Nigerians.

The REA equally claimed the initiative has begun to transform businesses across the country with the steady power supply increasing economic activity, spurring business growth, fostering job creation and enhancing business experience.