The Nigerian government commissions another university-based solar plant.
With the commissioning of yet another solar hybrid power plant by the federal government in one of its universities, Nigeria's energy transition plan to renewables is on course.
And this is in line with the globally endorsed Climate Change agenda and the Buhari administration's effort to connect more communities to off-grid power and reliable energy sources, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Mr Osinbajo stated this on Thursday in a message delivered virtually at the commissioning of a 1.12 MW Captive Solar Hybrid Power Plant at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
The project executed under the Energizing Education Programme (EEP), an initiative of the federal government, is aimed at providing 37 federal universities and seven teaching hospitals with captive energy solutions that will ensure sustainable and reliable power for students and faculty.
According to the vice president, "renewables are the fastest growing segment of energy today and will certainly be a key economic driver well into the future.
"Indeed, Nigeria intends to have 30 per cent of its electricity supply from renewables by the year 2030. Our future workforce therefore need to be ready for this energy transition. The training centers constitute a critical additional benefit of this project."
Continuing, he noted that "besides, this programme reaffirms the federal government's commitment to global best practice as we transition to cleaner sources of energy in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
"These projects being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency are strategic to fulfilling our commitments to the agreement as they strive to reduce Nigeria's carbon footprint.
"The leveraging of renewable energy technology is in line with the federal government's mandate and related activities. Nigeria's plan to reduce carbon emission by 20% unconditionally and 45% with international support by 2030, aims to limit the damaging effect of climate change."
Speaking on the benefits of the EEP, Mr Osinbajo said "already, 22,000 students and faculties across the country are connected to completed projects in Kano, Ebonyi, Benue and of course, now in Bauchi. But apart from providing a reliable source of captive power for these institutions, each institution will have a renewable energy workshop and a training center to provide training for students on renewable energy."
He said "the project also entails the installation of street lights and the electro fitting of existing ones for better illumination and provision of security on the campus and its environs. And there is provision for on-the-job training for 20 female students undergoing STEM courses in the beneficiary institutions. The training focuses on the design and installation of various components of the project."
While commending the implementing agency, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for its hard work and resourcefulness in the implementation of the programme, Mr Osinbajo charged the agency to redouble its effort in "rolling out the Energizing Education Programme with speed and quality across the country".
In the same vein, the vice president acknowledged and commended what he described as "a strong display of partnership between the Federal Ministries of Power, Education and Environment, the National Universities Commission and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission", in making the project a reality.
It would be recalled that the federal government, under the EEP, has inaugurated 3 solar off-grid hybrid power plants in 3 universities located in Kano, Ebonyi and Benue States.
In August 2019, through the Rural Electrification Agency, the federal government completed and inaugurated the first plant under the EEP, a 2.8MW first solar hybrid power plant at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI) in Ebonyi State. The project also included lighting of 7.5 KM of solar powered street lights in the university.
In September of the same year, the Buhari administration commissioned the largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa at Bayero University, Kano (BUK). The project which is providing students and faculty with constant electricity supply also includes provision of 11.41 kilometres of solar-powered street lights as well as a world-class renewable energy training centre.
In the same vein in December 2020, the federal government commissioned a 8.25M Solar Hybrid Power plant at Federal University of Agriculture (FUAM), Makurdi, Benue State. As a result, FUAM students and faculty now have access to electricity supply from the solar power plant. The project also includes installation of 13.23km solar powered streetlights for illumination and safety on the University campus.
All universities, under the programme are also provided with world-class renewable energy workshops and training centres.
In another development, the vice president presided over the inaugural meeting of the Cabinet Committee for the Review of the Draft National Transport Policy.
The terms of reference of the committee include the determination of "which ministry or agency has statutory authority to administer tolls on Nigeria roads," and to determine the "appropriate roles of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Ministry of Works and Housing vis a vis the Ministry of Transportation in respect of the Road Fund proposed by the policy."
Committee members at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa include the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, and Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, who represented the Finance Minister.
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Office of the Vice President