The Rural Electrification Agency in collaboration with the Power Africa Nigeria Power Support Program and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and held a kick-off webinar on Tuesday, 19th May 2020, on Component II: Productive Use Appliances and Equipment in Off-Grid Communities of the AfDB-financed Nigeria Electrification Project.
The webinar opened with remarks by the Managing Director/CEO of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad “…this event marks a milestone in the implementation of the African Development Bank funded Nigeria Electrification Project where mini-grid developers are supported through the productive use subsidy program to encourage the use of low-cost productive use appliances at solar mini-grid electrified communities in order to improve economic activities.”
The Component uses a result-based framework for investors and energy access companies to incorporate the distribution and sale of energy-efficient productive use appliances in their regular line of activities. The objective is to increase the productive use of energy in rural communities by facilitating access to efficient, electric productive equipment. The Component also serves to activate the productive use appliance market and make productive uses of power a critical enabler to sustainable economic development while scaling up energy access. It will also encourage developers to make productive use of power and energy-efficient appliances a part of their overall strategy for mini-grid viability.
This Component will target operating private mini-grid developers and prospective energy access businesses in Nigeria preparing business plans and incorporating the pre-determined Performance Based Grant in their financial projections. The grant will be available for existing businesses who have developed sustainable business plans for the deployment of their systems with productive appliances and equipment for off-grid communities. Applications for the grant will be considered on a rolling basis
The webinar was to familiarize the participants with the proposed subsidy program for productive loads under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) by AfDB and present the findings of a detailed study on agricultural loads conducted by the Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Programme (NPSP). It also sought inputs from the participants to enhance the structure and effectiveness of the proposed subsidy program and its deployment.
Speaking at the webinar, representative of the African Development Bank, Chukuwdozie Okpalaobieri, sitting in for Mr. Mamadou Diagne, Chief Regional Program Officer, reiterated the importance of this Component in achieving Nigeria’s development objectives, “It is well known that Energy access can be a critical enabler of economic development, particularly when coupled with productive uses of energy. The Bank is pleased with the level of participation during the webinar and critical inputs to build on the design of the component”.
The Head of NEP-AfDB Project Management Unit, Kenny Anuwe, stated “We implore developers to use this opportunity towards stimulating economic growth of beneficiary communities”
Energy Advisor and Acting USAID Power Africa Team Lead, Narlene Egu, stated “Mini-grid developers play a key role towards what is set to be achieved with this component of the programme. We will continue to interact with key stakeholders to ensure its sustainability.
A participant, Anayo Okenwa Nas Chief Executive Officer, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited, stated “An enlightening webinar I must commend. Developers now fully understand the requirements and expectations of delivering quality services to project beneficiaries and the practice of encouraging smart economic returns for rural electricity users through the use of energy-efficient productive appliances.”
The webinar was interactive with contributions from participants on experiences in deploying mini-grids in communities across the country. Several questions were asked during the session and responses were provided by panelists and experts in the field.
The event was a virtual round table on Zoom Platform in adherence with the Federal Government directive of social distancing aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 in the country as the REA continues efforts of engaging with stakeholders and development partners towards deployment of economically viable and sustainable electrification options at unserved and underserved areas across the country while putting into consideration health and safety during this period.