Abeokuta — The European Union (EU) has committed €150 million to boost electricity supply in Nigeria with a focus on green and renewable energy.
The EU representative in Nigeria, Mr. Kurt Cornelius, disclosed this at the weekend during the inauguration of a 85KWP Solar Hybrid Mini-Grid Project in Gbamu-Gbamu Village in Ijebu-East Local Council of Ogun State.
He lamented that about 45 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to electricity while the country spends about $13 billion yearly to fuel generating sets.
The project was jointly financed by the EU and the German government under the Nigerian energy support programme of the Federal Government.
Cornelius, who insisted that alternative energy remained the only solution to energy problem in the country, said the project was in line with the priorities of the EU in Nigeria.
His words: "We need to look at the importance of this energy support intervention in the concept of Nigeria. You will all agree with me that Nigeria is facing serious energy problems with about 45 per cent still without access to electricity and those connected experience frequent power outage.
"€150 million has been committed in the current programme and actions for access in the area of access to electricity and to promote the use of renewable energy.
"Nigerians spent $13 billion a year on private diesel operated generators to compensate for the electricity shortages. About 86 per cent of the companies in Nigeria run or share a generator and about 48 per cent of total electricity demand is covered by this private generators."
Besides, the Consul-Generals of United States (U.S.) and Federal Republic of Germany, John Bray and Ingo Herbert, said electricity generation, transmission and distribution remained serious challenge to Nigeria.
Bray, who disclosed that the U.S. government was targeting 60 million new connections with 30,000 megawatts of power through a programme tagged 'Power Africa', said: "One of the priorities of U.S. government in Africa is power sector development, and programme to actualise this goal is called power Africa.
"We want to have 30,000 megawatts of power in established 60 million new connections and what's happening here today in Gbamu-Gbamu is in support of that."
Meanwhile, the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, in his remark, insisted that for epileptic power supply to be a thing of the past in the country, the power sector must be unbundled.
He called on the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly to come up with legislation that would unbundle the sector currently in the exclusive list of the Federal Government.
He said the legislation would provide a clear framework and set boundaries for the involvement of states, local council authorities and private investments in the energy sectors.