The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oando Clean Energy (OCEL), which the parties said will enhance the deployment of sustainable renewable energy access across Nigeria.
A statement from the REA in Abuja stated that the MoU formed the basis of a public-private arrangement between the government agency and OCEL for the deployment of solar infrastructure.
The parties, it said, recognise the potential benefits of the deployment of solar infrastructure for power generation in order to trigger commercial and enterprise growth in benefitting communities.
“There are approximately 92 million Nigerians without access to electricity in the country, most of whom reside in rural areas. To this end, the federal government set a target to power 5 million homes through the REA in partnership with the private sector.
“This MoU gives OCEL access to target communities for the rollout of solar mini grids towards the achievement of energy security, power accessibility and affordability,” it noted.
It quoted the Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo, as saying during the ceremony that one of the best ways to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal in Nigeria was by exploring opportunities to optimise the critical role of renewable energy.
He further expressed his delight about the REA and Oando partnership, saying that it will bring about mutually beneficial collaboration, knowledge exchange and experiences targeted at achieving the common goal of optimising renewable energy.
The statement said the Oando brand had been a key player in the energy space for over 20 years and is making significant in-roads in the renewable energy space through its newest subsidiary, OCEL, which was launched in 2021.
Speaking at the signing event, President OCEL, Dr Ainojie Irune, expressed his confidence in the collaboration with REA, stressing that the kind of collaboration was needed to boost energy access in the country.
“We would not be signing this MoU today if Agencies like the REA didn’t provide an enabling environment. I commend the REA for partnering with the private sector to boost energy access in rural areas across Nigeria.
“We are clear in our minds that a sustainable solution to ensuring all Nigerians have access to power will be by deploying innovative and captive power solutions that address the unique needs of each community.
“Furthermore, experience has shown that power is an enabler of productivity. Thus, it is imperative that we accelerate the work required to boost access to power across the nation.
“The REA and Oando collaboration mark the beginning of another timely and strategic partnership targeted at exploring new approaches to clean energy development for socio-economic impact in a post-subsidy Nigeria,” he said.
While commending the REA for its approach to understanding and leveraging the role of the private sector players to deliver on the task of sustainable energy access across the country, Irune noted that Oando was focused on championing clean energy in Nigeria.
Executive Director Technical Services, REA, Barka Saju, indicated that delivering sustainable energy access across the nation must go beyond just connections and serve as an enabler of growth in communities, while targeting electrification projects to people’s sources of livelihood.
Head of the Solar Power Naija Programme, Barbara Izilien, in her comments, said REA continues to deepen private sector engagements to encourage private sector investment to deploy sustainable renewable energy projects across the country.
“We are trying to grow the funding of the Solar Power Naija and this MoU signing will support the expansion targets of the REA in providing energy access to communities,” she pointed out.
Also, Executive Vice President, OCEL, Demola Ogunbanjo, said that despite Africa only contributing 3.8 per cent of greenhouse emissions to global numbers, the continent does not experience 3.8 per cent of the impact of climate change.
“We experience that impact in a much larger form. We recognise the role that energising the continent through renewable energy sources will play in unlocking the potential of Africa.
“Today, over 600 million of Africa’s 1.3 billion people don’t have access to power. Over 10 per cent of that number is in Nigeria. With this MoU signing, we will start to power the most marginalised communities so they can begin to build infrastructure for a more viable and thriving economy,” he stated.
REA is the implementing agency of the federal government of Nigeria for electrification of rural and underserved communities. The agency’s mandate includes promoting rural electrification, co-ordination of rural electrification programmes, and the administration of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF).