By Benjamin Auta
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday commissioned a 100KWP solar hybrid mini power plant grid and an ultramodern market worth over N2.2 billion at Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru local government of Kaduna state.
The solar hybrid mini grid is part of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Blue Camel Energy Limited under the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) projects.
The solar hybrid mini grid according to the Managing Director/CEO of REA who was represented by the Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF), Dr. Sanusi Ohiare will provide constant and reliable electricity to over 500 shops in the market, 1 commercial bank, 1 Police Station and 1 Fire Service Station.
Speaking at the commissioning, the VP ,who was in company of the Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu among other dignitaries, said the solar power plant would not have been possible without the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.
He added that despite the passage of the Electric Power Reform Act in 2005, the activation of Rural Electrication was only commenced in 2019, which is 14 years after the act was passed.
The Vice President said that “Rural Electrification provides subsidies, a clear and transparent process. In the key Rural Electrification Farm circle so far, more than six bilion Naira worth of project has been executed, with 42,000 connections to estimate 200,000 Nigerians.
“There is a key focus globally on renewable electrification that we can take advantage of, especially to expand rural electrification in the country, to provide electricity for underprivileged communities,” he added.
“This rural electrification approach is laudable and I must commend the state governor for this initiative. We shall continue to expand the rural electrification,” he said.
While commissioning the modern market, the VP said, that the market symbolizes effective coordination between the federal government and Kaduna State government, stressing that Kaduna state government is commitment to rebuilding and modernizing the market is very apt.
“I am also happy for the Ministry of Power whom through the Rural Electrification Agency partnered with the Kaduna State government to create a sustainable free source of power for the market,” he said.
On his part, the Minister of Power said, the commitment of the Federal Government in powering communities through the use of off-grid solutions, the energy gap in the nation will continue to close at a pace Nigerians will be satisfied with.
“The critical role of renewable energy and off-grid Electrication in ensuring a robust energy and off-grid Electrication in ensuring a robust energy mix and energy security in line with global trend in energy transition and our National Electricity Vision 30:30:30 which is a vision to achieve 30,000mw by the year 2030 with 30% coming from renewable energy.
“The Ministry is leading the implementation of the 5 million new connection using solar,binder the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) launched by the Federal Government. In particular, Solar Power Naija is one of the initiative that is designed to achieve the Ministry’s goals where the CBN is providing 140 billion Naira concessional loans to local investors towards providing electricity access to homes and businesses.”
Earlier in his speech, Governor El-Rufai commended the Vice President for accepting to Commission the power and market project which are people oriented.
He disclosed that the market was ready for commissioning since last year but had to wait for the Vice President to be available to commission it.
Sulieman Yusuf, Founder and Managing Director of Blue Camel Energy, a company that has been into renewable energy for the past 14 years in Nigeria that partnered REA, stressed that polution and green environment is another key reason the renewable energy is very important
“We have a 15 years partnership sustainability plan in this project and after that 15 years, depending on what technologies are available and where this takes us. Probably it will be reviewed again.
“Part of why sustainability is the problem is if you have a problem in Maiduguri, you will have to send people from Lagos to troubleshoot it. We are are training people to this effect in every area we have a renewable energy setup.
“We hope to see that this drives more business beacuse if your cost of energy is cheap, there would be more productivity. The cost of energy from renweable energy is not likely to change unlike the conventional energy,” he said.