The United States of America has reiterated her commitment to the development of Nigeria’s power sector with the announcement of a fresh grant of $767,512 (N241.6 million) to support the development of renewable energy in Nigeria.
The grant, which was received by Community Energy Enterprises Limited (CESEL), a private Nigerian company, is for the development of solar micro grids in 25 communities across Nigeria.
The USAID Mission Director, Michael Harvey, made the announcement yesterday in Abuja, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CESEL and Renewvia Energy Corporation; a US based renewable energy developer.
“CESEL and Renewvia will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) together outlining their cooperation on the projects to develop solar microgrids at 25 communities across Nigeria. Power Africa and United State Trade Development (USTDA) will witness and announce their support at the MoU signing as this project is an example of power Africa support for the addition of 60m new electricity connections for African residential consumers,” he said.
He added that Power Africa, a US-Government-led initiative which has been very active in Nigeria’s power sector, would provide funding support to the CESEL for feasibility study that “Would assess the rollout of 25 solar microgrids in rural and peri-urban communities across Nigeria totaling up to 10 megawatts and connecting over 10,000 households.”
CESEL Managing Director Dr. Patrick Tolani, who signed on behalf of the company, stated that the benefiting communities include those that are completely off-grid and those had no access to electricity for more than 10 to 15 years.
The communities according to him, include Brass in Bayelsa State, Magboro in Ogun State, Ilaje and Igbokoda in Ondo State; and a community which was completely cut off the grid because of isolation in Osun State.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Renewvia, Clay Taber, said: “Renewvia and CESEL would sell microgrid customers electricity by KiloWhats (KWh) through a “pay as you go” structure.
“The competitiveness of the system helps to ensure payment, as the project would provide consistent and reliable power at a less expensive price than current rural power generation by diesel.”
He added that Renewvia and CESEL also planned to facilitate the transaction through mobile payments.
He said the project would employ local and remote resources to support the needs of the power plant for each microgrid.
Earlier, Powe r Africa Coordinator, Andrew Herscowitz, noted that Nigerians would be willing to pay for the price of electricity if it is reliable, adding that Power Africa is in Nigeria to make the power sector more efficient and profitable.