Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that Nigeria is planning to have at least 30 per cent of its total electricity supply from renewable sources, majorly solar power in the next nine years.
Speaking at the inauguration of a 1.12MW Solar Hybrid Project at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Thursday, the vice-president noted that the ongoing projects being executed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) were critical to the achievement of that objective and reduction of Nigeria's carbon footprints.
Osinbajo, who noted that at least 22,000 students in the country and several faculties in several universities were already hooked on to the programme, explained that the country is working hard to curb emissions by 20 per cent immediately and 45 per cent in collaboration with its international partners.
The vice-president stated that the programme would expand the country's commitment to global best practice and to cleaner energy in line with the Paris agreement on Climate Change.
As the fastest growing means of energy today, he noted that renewables will be the key economic driver of growth in the nearest future.
He said: "This is yet another milestone in the Energizing Education Programme (NEP). The objective of the programme is that all 37 federal universities and seven teaching hospitals will be provided with captive energy solution to ensure sustainable and reliable power for students and faculties.
"Already, 22,000 students and faculties across the country are connected to completed projects in Kano, Ebonyi, Benue and now in Bauchi. Apart from providing reliable power for these institutions, we will have a renewable energy workshop and training centre to provide training for students on renewable energy.
"Renewables are the highest growing source of energy today. In the future, Nigeria intends to have over 30 per cent of its electricity supply from renewables by the year 2030. Our future workforce needs to be ready for this transition."
The vice-president stressed that the current development aligns with Nigeria's plan to reduce emissions by 20 per cent unconditionally and 45 per cent with international support.
Commenting on the new project, he said it comes with a renewable energy workshop and a training centre to provide training for the students on renewable energy.
He commended the REA for its hard work and openness in the implementation of the programme, urging the agency to redouble its efforts.
In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Mr. Saleh Mamman, maintained that gone are the days where students read at night with candles, lanterns and torches, saying that aside the captive hybrid solar power plant, renewable energy workshop and training centre, the federal government also installed street lights in the benefitting institutions.
He said that the plant was funded by the federal government green bond, noting that it underscores Nigeria's adherence to global best practices, as the world transitions to cleaner sources of energy.
The Managing Director of the REA, Mr Ahmad Salihijo, while speaking at the ceremony, noted that the project was in line with this administration's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He stressed that the essence of the programme is to provide clean, reliable, safe and sustainable electricity to selected federal universities and teaching hospitals.
"In implementing this, the programme rehabilitates existing electricity distribution infrastructure, illuminate university campuses for improved security and construct renewable energy training centres to nurture female STEM students under this programme.
"The STEM Internship programme is an important component of this project, where 20 female students received training in the design and construction of the solar hybrid power plant.
"Under the tutelage of the solar developer, these women received hands-on field and classroom training through the course of this project's implementation. In total, 60 female stem students have been trained so far," he disclosed.