REA Signs 350mw MoU with EM-One to Electrify Underserved Areas

*Partners SMEDAN to power MSMEs with clean energy 

Peter Uzoho

The Renewable Energy Agency (REA) activated two critical partnerships yesterday, including a 350 megawatts (MW) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EM-One, an integrated energy solutions and renewable energy company, for delivery of clean and reliable electricity to underserved peri-urban and rural areas in Nigeria.
The second deal was with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) for the provision of clean off-grid power solutions to millions of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the country, who were constrained by lack of access to power supply.
The two partnership deals were signed in Lagos on the side-lines of the ongoing Energy Access Investment Forum (EAIF) 2024, organised by the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE).

Managing Director of REA, Mr. Abba Aliyu, signed on behalf of the agency.
Notably, the two deals came a day after the agency had on Wednesday inked an MoU with Husk Power for the delivery of 250MW of sustainable electricity to millions of underserved rural communities and peri-urban centres in Nigeria.
However, the historic 350MW partnership with EM-One, according to document made available to THISDAY, was built on REA’s commitment to achieving universal energy access through renewable energy service companies (RESCOs).

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the REA boss expressed enthusiasm over the partnership. He stated that the agreements represented a significant step forward in realising the agency’s vision of a robust network of RESCOs delivering clean and reliable electricity to even the most remote corners of Nigeria.
Aliyu said, “This collaboration with EM-ONE is a significant step towards our goal of universal energy access in Nigeria. By scaling up renewable energy projects and supporting RESCOs, we are not only addressing the immediate energy needs of our communities but also fostering long-term economic growth and environmental sustainability.”

He explained that in the first part, the MoU with EM-One signified a combined commitment to deliver an additional 250MW of interconnected mini-grids (IMGs) across Nigeria, essentially targeting peri-urban and rural communities, with a particular focus on sites with large-scale anchor loads, like factories or commercial centres.
He said these anchors would not only power their own operations but also serve as hubs, illuminating surrounding underserved communities.
Aliyu maintained that the IMGs were a core component of the REA’s Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale Up (DARES) project, aiming to enhance energy access, stimulate local economies, and promote balanced development across Nigeria.
He stated that the partnership with EM-One, alongside the previous agreement with Husk Power, would bring the total combined commitment to a staggering 500MW of renewable energy delivered through mini-grids.

Aliyu explained, “This signifies a major leap forward in the REA’s vision for a network of RESCOs that can empower underserved communities across Nigeria.
“The MoUs also pave the way for cutting-edge technologies, like smart grids and decentralised systems, to be integrated with IMGs.
“The integration of such technologies will increase grid visibility, optimise power flows, and enable large-scale grid interconnection of renewable energy, ultimately modernising Nigeria’s energy infrastructure and ensuring efficient energy distribution.”

Beyond community electrification, Aliyu stated that REA was exploring the electrification of health facilities with dedicated solar mini-grids.
According to him, the initiative, along with the promotion of other value chain enhancing productive-use cases, such as electric vehicles (EVs) for sustainable transport solutions, further demonstrated REA’s commitment to a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.
Commenting on the deal, Chief Executive Officer of EM-ONE, Mir Islam, highlighted the innovative aspects of the partnership.
Islam said, “We are excited to work with REA to bring cutting-edge technologies, like smart grids and decentralised systems, to address the challenge of energy access in Nigeria. These solutions will not only enhance energy efficiency but also ensure that renewable energy can be reliably integrated into the national grid at scale.”

REA also stated that partnership with EM-One, combined with the earlier agreement with Husk Power, set a new global standard for expanding access to clean energy through decentralised solar solutions.  
By prioritising the needs of local communities, the agency said the initiative went beyond simply providing electricity, as it empowered communities with the tools and resources they need to maximise the benefits of renewable energy.
Meanwhile, REA said the deal it signed with SMEDAN for the provision of clean off-grid power solutions to MSMEs across the country marked a significant step towards achieving universal energy access and accelerating Nigeria’s energy transition.

The document made available to THISDAY, indicated that the strategic partnership marked a crucial step in unlocking the growth potential of MSMEs by providing them with access to reliable and sustainable alternative energy solutions.
The collaboration between REA and SMEDAN, according to the document, directly aligned with REA’s long-held ambition of providing clean and dependable energy solutions that drive socio-economic development, particularly in underserved areas.
Aliyu stated, “This MOU with SMEDAN represents a significant step towards universal energy access and advancing Nigeria’s energy transition.

“By empowering MSMEs with clean and reliable energy, we’re not only fuelling their growth but also contributing to Nigeria’s broader economic and sustainability goals, particularly in the face of rising energy costs.”

On his part, Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr. Charles Odii, highlighted the agency’s strategic focus, saying, “Our collaboration with REA perfectly aligns with our mission to create a thriving and sustainable MSME sector.

“Access to clean energy is essential for small businesses to flourish, and this partnership ensures they can operate more efficiently and sustainably, while playing a key role in Nigeria’s energy transition.”

However, with the recent surge in fuel prices, the parties said the need for MSMEs to adopt more cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions was more critical than ever. They added that the partnership aimed to empower MSMEs with clean energy access.

This would enable them to reduce energy dependence on rising fuel costs, boost efficiency and productivity, enhance profitability, promote environmental sustainability, and build a stronger and more sustainable economy.

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