Abuja moots $1b for solar power as national grid collapses
By Jeph Ajobaju, Chief Copy Editor
Abuja is planning a meeting to brainstorm on how to raise $1 billion to invest in 1,000 megawatts (mw) solar power projects stalled for six years, to help stave off by 2023 a repeat of wobbling national grid that collapsed twice this month.
Electricity blackouts, the lot of Nigeria for decades, began to increase from late 2021 and accelerated in the first week of March 2022.
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Power outages got dramatically worse last week as the national grid collapsed twice within 72 hours, announced by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
President Muhammadu Buhari held meetings last week with Ministers to devise ways to upgrade the system and his Infrastructure Adviser Ahmad Zakari has announced that the investment in solar power will be a game changer..
He said the Presidency will continue to work on emergency measures to stabilise power supply and will also zero in on medium term solutions.
“The Ministry of Finance and Power has structured a meeting for $1 billion investment for 1000MW of solar stalled since ’16. We expect some on grid by ’23.
“The projects range from 50MW to 100MW across Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Abuja, Bauchi … some of these states will be joining the league of states with on-grid power plants for the first time.
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“These 1GW of solar projects will be a game changer and a harbinger for more projects,” Zakari disclosed on Twitter.
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€9.3 million deal for minigrid development
Abuja had announced last month the signing of a €9.3 million agreement on Interconnected Minigrid Acceleration Scheme (IMAS) to be granted local solar minigrid developers, according to reporting by Nairametrics.
IMAS anticipates to raise supply by 5.4 kilowatts (kw) to power 27,600 households.
“The project is coordinated by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) with support from the European Union and the German government through the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP),” Power Minister of State Goddy Jedy-Agba explained.
He said IMAS will help achieve the vision of generating at least 30,000 mw of electricity by 2030.