By Agatha Chitumu, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – The Minster of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu has expressed worries over provision of electricity to rural areas through conventional means, saying it is costly.
This was contained in a Press release made available to DAILY COURIER by AD, Press for Director, Information Odutayo Oluseyi.
Abubakar made the statement at the launch/workshop of the Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP) in Abuja.
The workshop is in collaboration with ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) which is an agency of the Commission since 2017 on implementation of the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) project.
At the occasion, the Minister noted that renewable energy is locally available and can be used for heating purposes and supply of electricity.
He noted further that it helps to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, enhance national energy security, reduce oil import bills, thereby reducing poverty.
“The ROGEAP project has been designed to provide solutions to improve the living conditions of the populace.
“ROGEP as conceived entails the development of Solar Home Systems (SHS) to rural areas by providing developers with soft loans funded by the World Bank.
“The loans are to be issued by World Bank through intermediary banks and the interest to be borne by the project developers. Government was required to guarantee for payment of energy provided in essential sectors such as Public Health Centers and Public Schools only”, he said.
The Minister who was represented by Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access, Engr A.D Abubakar said though the project which had considerable achievement was halted due to the expiration of the effectiveness period , the ECOWAS Commission he added was launching ROGEP project under a new name Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP) to increase access to electricity for households, commercial enterprises, public institutions and for productive uses, through stand-alone solar photovoltaic systems, in West Africa and four countries of the Sahel regions.
Speaking earlier, the representative of ECOWAS and “Conseiller Principal” El hadji Sylla highlighted the importance of energy in achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction in regions using modern stand-alone sola technology through a harmonized regional approach.
The project according to him has two main components which are development of a regional market for Off – Grid sola PV system and access to finance.
The project in his words is expected to support member states set a favorable framework to develop the solar off-grid market and to promote private sector participation.
Participants from government and related agencies, the private sector, financial institutions, Development partners / technical partners, Civil Society Organizations and the Media were at the workshop.