Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The federal government has ramped up efforts to provide off-grid electricity to rural communities in the South-east, with the inauguration of two separate power projects, totaling 107.5 kilowatts.
The projects inaugurated were a 100kw solar hybrid mini grid in Eka Awoke in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, and a 7.5KW solar mini grid at the Joint Hospital, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Anambra State.
The projects were executed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) as part of its mandate of electrifying unserved and underserved areas across the country.
The agency said the project would provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity for the health center towards improving service delivery.
The REA Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Ahmad Salihijo, said the project was designed to provide jobs for the community.
He urged the people to put it to productive use because the federal government was looking forward to assessing its positive impact on the rural community in the next few months.
The REA boss said the project would run the healthcare facilities in the community.
He said the project was implemented from the first set of grant to the Rural Electrification Fund for off-grid electrification across the country.
Salihijo said the essence of the project was to promote economic activities in rural communities.
“As you have heard, Cloud Energy is going to develop a rice mill here just because of this power plant. This is exactly why REA goes into this kind of project to stimulate the economy and create jobs,” he said.
He stated that as mandated by the federal government, the agency would continue to implement sustainable and reliable energy infrastructure deployment using off-grid technologies.
On the electrification of the hospital, Ahmad said that powering the critical facility at Ozubulu was another testament of the impact of renewable energy to healthcare infrastructure.
“Having stretched our healthcare infrastructure to its limit in the last couple of months, this project is coming at a very timely moment as we push to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
During the event at the hospital, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who was represented by Mr. Emeka Ezenwanne, Commissioner for Public Utilities and Water Resources, re-emphasised the need for cleaner sources of energy.
“It is important to stress that the benefits of clean and safe and constant electricity in this hospital will increase the number of patients visiting the hospital and improve the quality of health service by doctors to the patients,” he said.
On his part, the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi , said the solar power plant would trigger industrialisation in the community .
According him, the impact of the project was already changing lives positively.
His Deputy, Barrister Kelechi Igwe, who represented him, said ” this project has also provided jobs for indigenes of this community and will create more during its expansion.
“We look forward to witnessing and commissioning more of this projects that will improve the quality of life for the people of Ebonyi and revolutionise the face of our economy.”
He said since the project is a clean energy, it would culminate in the attainment of improved health and environment in the state.
Umahi commended the federal government and REA for providing reliable electricity to the unserved and underserved community with electricity.