By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government said it has concluded arrangements to embark on design and construction of captive hybrid power plants across a total of 15 universities and two Teaching Hospitals in the country.
The Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency, REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, who disclosed this while speaking at the commissioning of the solar hybrid power project at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, said the programme will be executed under the under the Nigeria Electrification Project, NEP.
Ahmad revealed that the REA has secured funding from the World Bank and African Development Bank, AfDB, towards the implementation of projects tagged Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Energizing Education Programme respectively.
He said, the Energizing Education Programme Solar Hybrid Power Project commissioned at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, has a total installed capacity of 8.25MW.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.
“The EEP was designed to develop off-grid hybrid captive power solutions for the generation and provision of clean and sustainable supply to 37 federal universities and 7 university teaching hospitals across the country.
“The programme was also targeted at rehabilitating existing electricity distribution infrastructure, providing designated street lighting for illumination and safety across campuses, as well as provision of a world class renewable Workshop Training Center for each of the beneficiary institutions.
“Under the Phase 1 of the EEP, 9 Federal Universities were selected from the six (6) geo-political zones in Nigeria, with the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi being the selection for the North Central Zone.
“Furthermore, the Programme implementation was designed to incorporate gender mainstreaming through the Female STEM Internship Programme. The STEM programme was targeted at training 20 female students per university on the various components in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction chain of power plant deployment.
“ So far, two power plants have been commissioned under the EEP i.e. the
2.8MW captive solar hybrid power project at Alex Ekwueme Federal University,
Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State, on the 2nd of August 2019 and the 7.1MW captive solar hybrid project at Bayero University, Kano State on the 3 rd of September2019.
“Thus, this will be the third EEP Phase 1 site to be commissioned, with two others scheduled for commissioning in the coming weeks.
“Suffice to state that the project we are here to commission today has under gone the standard processes of design, construction and test-run. As part of the trail phase, the university has received power from the plant for a total of 137 days, and is therefore fully set for operation to deliver reliable power to the staff and students of this noble institution.
“The reliability of the power will not only drive conducive learning, but also boost research and development. This, we believe is contributory towards the achievement of the goals set for the growth of Nigeria’s education sector under this administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“Furthermore, the Workshop Training Centre was designed to train students and staff of FUAM on the theory and practice of renewable energy, towards the greater outcome of increasing the total number of Nigerians with standard knowledge of clean energy solutions as we move towards an off-grid renewable energy revolution in Nigeria’s power sector.
“Personally, I congratulate the 20 Female STEM students of FUAM who successfully finished their internship program that ran through the construction phase of the project.
“These young and intelligent women showed remarkable resilience and passion for practical knowledge. It is my belief that as they graduate today, they will serve as beacons that will contribute to the advancement of the power sector in Nigeria.
“No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant public health challenges stalled the completion of some minor components of the project as it restricted activities and movement of persons across the country for what seemed like months unending.
“However, we remained resilient towards ensuring that we kept to our mandate of delivering sustainable power and creating the platform for more jobs and knowledge transfer.
“Hence, we are here today for this ground-breaking commissioning being an indicator for resilience, hard work and dedication on the part of all who in one way or the other contributed to the successful delivery of this project.
He noted that, “Moving forward, the REA has secured funding from the World Bank and AfricanDevelopment Bank towards the implementation of Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Energizing Education Programme respectively.
“These phases will see to the design and construction of captive hybrid power plants across a total of 15 federal universities and two Teaching Hospitals Teaching Hospitals and they will be implemented under the Nigeria Electrification Project, NEP.
“The Management of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi and the entire student body have shown great support and enthusiasm throughout the implementation of this project.
“This 8.25MW solar hybrid power project and its ultra-modern training facility is now yours, and I urge you to ensure it is sustained and used optimally, ensuring that energy efficiency in the use of power is held as a core principle while utilizing the infrastructure.
“I would like to round off by appreciating His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and His Excellency the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN for the clear goals on off-grid electrification and for entrusting the Rural Electrification Agency with the mission to provide sustainable and reliable electricity across the country. This project is only one of many to come.”
Vanguard News Nigeria