Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Nine Northern States to Get 420MW Solar Energy

Abuja — The Federal Government is set to provide 420 megawatts of electricity using solar energy for nine states in the northern part of the country.

The Secretary, National Energy Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Njiddah, made this known at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Monday.

Njiddah said the project would be implemented under the Nigerian-German Energy Partnership-Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects (REEPS).

The Federal Government in 2008 signed an agreement with Germany to invest 20 million euros to increase energy efficiency by about 6,500mw through a mix of power generation sources.

Under the project, German Government is to provide 500mw of solar energy to be spread across the northern states of the country within five years.

According to him, the pilot scheme, which is expected to cover all the northern states of the country, will commence in nine states.

The states are: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano Nasarawa and Sokoto.

He said each of the states had indicated interest in getting 30mw solar plant with the exception of Kano and Nasarawa which wanted three or four plants situated in different parts of their states.

Njiddah said each plant would cost between 50 million and 60 million dollars.

The secretary said the project was borne out of the desire to tap the abundant solar energy in the northern part of the country.

He said the project was being implemented in line with the Power Reform Act which stipulates that 5 per cent of power generation must come from renewable energy by 2020.

"It is in the pursuit of this that we now consider that we can generate power from other sources apart from conventional thermal power generation.

"This is economically and environmentally efficient and also serves as another source of revenue for the beneficiary state governments using renewable energy for power generation.

"It is also an opportunity for us, and especially the tertiary institutions, to acquire skills in the area of capacity building and expansion, employment generation in thousands, wealth creation, among others," he said.

He said the project was based on scientific investigation which indicated substantial solar energy in the northern states capable of stimulating economic growth and creating employment opportunities.

The Chairman of the Infrastructure Bank Plc, Alhaji Lamis Dikko, said the bank was appointed by the Federal Government as the transaction advisor and local financier arranger for the project.

"Our role is to help the Nigeria-German energy partnership to structure the project, find local investors that will invest in the projects and to ensure proper project management in line with international best practice.

"We bring together all the developers who have indicated interest in developing power plants and all the state governments that have indicated interest to have solar power in their states

"We bring together all the stakeholders and come up with a road map and choose which project will be the pilot project," he said.

Dr Jeremy Gaines, Coordinator, Nigerian-German Energy Partnership, led other German developers to the meeting.

Gaines said Germany was committed to ensure that the northern part of the country got adequate power supply through solar energy, and assured that the project would be completed within time. (NAN)

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