Energy firm connects Niger community to mini-grid
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, yesterday, inaugurated ENGIE Energy Access hybrid 90KW mini-grid to connect unelectrified households and small businesses in the state.
The mini-grid will directly impact over 1,500 people by providing affordable, reliable and clean electricity.
Bello, who was assisted by French Ambassador to Nigeria, Madame Emmanuelle Blatmann, stated that ENGIE Energy Access – a solar homes systems and mini-grid solutions provider – would connect the people of Gbangba community in the state to an electric power source for the first time and power over 300 customers, comprising households and small enterprises.
At the launch, Managing Director of ENGIE Energy Access Nigeria, Bankole Cardoso, said the country’s electricity challenge remained a huge gap that needed to be filled in Nigeria’s journey to harness its full potential as a nation.
According to him, the power challenge requires the support of the private sector, and the construction of the Gbangba mini-grid demonstrates how private investment can help to address the infrastructure gap in the energy sector.
“Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the world’s lowest energy access rate, with more than half of its people without electricity. In Nigeria, about 43.5 per cent of people live without access to energy. This presents an opportunity to employ grand-scale innovation and the intervention of renewable energy solutions within the electricity sector.
“This mini-grid will foster socio-economic development and prosperity in the Gbangba community, its people and neighbours. It will serve private households and commercial businesses –groceries, bakeries, mobile phone chargers etc. It will boost food production by powering agricultural equipment such as irrigation and cold storage, productive loads such as grind mills and wood or metalworking shops, and semi-industrials such as telecom towers and processing plants,” said Cardoso.
Chief Executive Officer of ENGIE Energy Access, Gillian-Alexandre Huart, said the mini-grid was a win for Gbangba and Nigeria at large, as it demonstrates the company’s strong commitment to meeting the growing decentralised energy needs with an ambition to build over 100 mini-grids across the country.
“The launch of our first mini-grid in Nigeria means that we have installed mini-grids in five African countries, including Benin Republic, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. Our plan is to further expand our mini-grid business on the continent over the coming months and years – adding other countries to our footprint,” said Huart.
Blatmann said she was proud to celebrate the investment that would change the lives of so many rural people.
Each household is expected to pay a bill of N1,000 monthly.
Village Head of Gbangba, Alhaji Ibrahim Bagudu, said: “What we are witnessing today has never happened for the past 100 years. We are grateful that our village has been connected to electricity.”