The European Union, on Thursday, said it gave more than N3.4 billion grant to boost renewable energy in Nigeria under the Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP). Allan Munday, Acting Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), who disclosed this at the inauguration of the second phase of the project in Abuja, said that the fund was to demonstrate EU’s commitment in ensuring that a greater number of Nigerians had access to electricity.
He described renewable energy as “solar power”, adding that the project would incorporate training of personnel on capacity building. He said that the grant would also help in strengthening the partnership between Nigeria and donor agencies under the power sector. In his remark, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr Godknows Igali, said that improving electricity supply and its efficiency for Nigerian households and businesses was part of Federal Government’s transformation agenda. Igali said that the major problem of solar power was lack of maintenance, and advocated the training of youths in communities where power projects under the scheme would be located in order to ensure their sustainability. He said that the measure would make the youths and communities to be stakeholders in the ownership of the projects. He, however, commended EU, German International Cooperation (GIZ) and other development partners for their support in the sector.
Country Director of GIZ, Mr Thomas Kirsch, in his speech, said that the programme, which funded by the EU and implemented by the cooperation was first inaugurated in March 2013. He said that a grant of N2 billion was given for the first phase by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Kirsch said that the project was aimed at improving the conditions for investment in “renewable energy, energy efficiency and rural electrification”. “The NESP started in 2013 with N2 billion from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. “The N3.4 billion additional EU funding will allow the programme to continue advising Nigerian institutions on enabling policy, institutional and regulatory framework conditions from the federal level. “It will support improved rural electricification planning in five states and set up various demonstration projects, providing business models to increase energy access through sustainable energy resources. “It will also initiate and support vocational training and capacity development in the electricity sector,’’ Kirsch said. NAN