The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent agency of the United States (US) federal government that is responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance, in collaboration with Power Africa, a US power initiative and Winrock International, has concluded the four-year Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (REEEP) in Nigeria.
The project, which gulped about $2.1 million in financing from both domestic and international vendors, ran from March 2014 to February 2018, aimed to mitigate climate change, reduce carbon emissions, increase economic opportunities, improve employment and ultimately sustain development in Nigeria.
Addressing the media on the successful completion of the project, Director, Office of Economic Growth and Environment, USAID, Mrs. Roseann Casey, said the project was set up to raise awareness on renewable energy as the fastest, cleaner and cheaper way of providing power for Nigerians.
US Consul General, Mr. John Bray, said the REEEP project was meant to increase the megawatts and electric connections in Nigerian households and commended Nigeria for having the facilities to boost renewable energy technology.
Chief of Party, Winrock International, the company that implemented the project, Mr, Javier Betancourt, said through the project, Winrock was able to provide training and capacity building for Nigerians, and that the company had to work with some Nigerian banks to achieve the objective. “We provided training for banks and financial institutions on how to create consumer financing products,” Betancourt said.
Listing the achievements of the four-year project, Betancourt said the USAID was able to work with donors, NGOs, government agencies, financial institutions to enable over 16,600 connections for 2.5 megawatts of power through off and on-grid sources, and that over 261,938 Nigerians received clean and renewable energy, which resulted in the saving of sufficient energy, due to the use of more efficient technologies, compared to diesel or petrol. “Environmentally, these connections reduced up to 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere,” Betancourt said.
The USAID REEEP facilitated the development and financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and strengthened the current policy and regulatory environment for public and private sector investment.
“These past four years have been a challenging, yet a transformative time. We witnessed a foreign exchange crisis that severely restricted financing of the project. Despite this, we saw Nigerian companies making movements on ambitious new projects such as Africa’s largest solar irrigated farm. Additionally, in partnership with GIZ NESP, six off-grid mini grids were commissioned. These mini grids will play a pivotal role in electrifying rural areas of Nigeria and demonstrating such projects’ bankability,” Betancourt said. He thanked the partners that worked with USAID in successfully completing the project in record time, adding tags without their inputs, the project would not have been successful.