REA to power 500,000 businesses in five years
Following the mandate to provide electricity through sustainable off grid solutions to under-served and un-served communities and Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), has reiterated its commitment to reach 500,000 small businesses within 350 economic clusters over the next four to five years.
The agency said its goal, which is in line with the Federal Government’s bid to increase energy access and the use of renewable energy solutions, is to boost economic growth by providing MSMEs with the tools to achieve their full potential.
The Chief Executive Officer of REA, Damilola Ogunbiyi, at the inauguration of the Sura Independent Power Project (SIPP), in Lagos, said the role of the Federal Government through the agency is critical to the success of the initiative, which is sustained by Power Africa through technical assistance support from Deloitte and Mckinsey.
The government, she remarked, could give support by providing data like energy audits, programme management support, community relation support and stakeholder management to ease their efforts.
Ogunbiyi advanced that the agency developed the Off-Grid Electrification Strategy that includes five key elements, which are all at different stages of development – Energising Education Programme, Solar Home System Initiative, Solar Minigrids Initiative, Nigeria Energy Database and Energising Economies Initiative under which the Sura shopping complex is the first completed pilot.
With focus on energising economic initiative, the REA boss noted that the projects under the initiative are fully funded by the private sector, and aimed at providing clean and reliable power supply to 80,000 shops within a year, create over 2,500 jobs, empower over 340,000 MSMEs as well as reduce greenhouse carbon emissions by 25,000 metric tonnes a year.
Chief Executive Officer of Solad Power Holdings, (the private sector developer of SIPP), Denis O’Brien, explained that the market size and opportunity in the renewable energy sector are huge as the estimated power demand for economic clusters in the country ranges between 2.8 and 4.2 Giga Watts, which translates to a value of about N1.9 trillion.
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