One of the leading providers of solar homes systems and mini-grids solutions in Nigeria, ENGIE Energy Access has announced plans to deploy renewable mini-grids energy systems.
Indeed, according to the Energy Progress Report 2022 by tracking Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Nigeria has the lowest access to electricity globally, with about 92 million persons out of the country’s over 200 million population lacking access to power supply.
To bridge the energy supply gap in the country, ENGIE stated that it would be targeting households, businesses, schools and healthcare centres in rural communities by providing them with access to renewable energy through the construction of its mini-grids project in Niger state.
The Head, Mini-Grids, ENGIE Energy Access Nigeria, Onyinye Anene-Nzelu, made this known while speaking during a panel session at the second edition of the Solar Week Nigeria 2023 Conference & Awards recently held in Lagos, with the theme, ‘Partnering for success: Collaborating with communities and stakeholders in mini-grids project with energy storage in Nigeria.
According to her, strategic partnership with relevant stakeholders in the renewable energy ecosystem is essential in bridging Nigeria’s huge energy gap.
She said, “The importance of collaboration in the renewable energy space cannot be over emphasised. With 92 million people with no access to electricity especially in rural areas, shows that more needs to be done to increase investment in electric power infrastructure, more needs to be done to increase financing for private sector energy efficiency, renewable energy development so as to meet the energy demand of our growing population.”
“From the beginning of the value chain is policy, we need to make sure that we get our policies right. We also need to make sure that our regulatory framework is well aligned with the right methodology to ensure that we are able to attract and sustain investments that will enable us bridge the energy access gap across the country” she stated.
Responding to questions about the impact of mini-grids to the development of rural communities in Nigeria, Anene-Nzelu noted that Nigeria is gradually moving from rural electrification to rural economic transformation, all thanks to the deployment of mini-grids in rural areas.
She described the move as an economic enabler for rural dwellers, as it has opened the communities to more business opportunities, increased productivity and reduced urban migration in the country.
She explained that, “The on-boarding of the mini-grids to the Nigeria electricity value-chain has shown the possibility within the off-grid decentralised renewable energy industry in Nigeria and across Africa, signalling to other investors interested in becoming partners in progress to bridge Africa’s huge energy gap.”
“The disconnect at the community level reveals the lack of access to clean and reliable Energy for the development of mini-grids has offered Nigeria the unique opportunity to get the rural communities connected to uninterrupted Energy sources that will make them productive and economically valuable to the country.” she posited.
She further stated that the current hike in the cost of energy occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy will adversely affect the socio-economic well-being of the rural dwellers if much attention is not given to the adoption and utilisation of renewable energy to that segment of the society.