4 January 2014
President Goodluck Jonathan is on Saturday scheduled to launch a new initiative aimed at addressing the epileptic power situation in the country.
The formal launch of the Operation Light Up Rural Nigeria will see the commissioning of major solar energy projects in local communities across 16 states.
Speaking on the project, Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the solar power project would provide improved and less expensive lighting for rural dwellers.
He said the project would incorporate the installation of non-grid decentralised mini solar wind power generation plants that would be able to serve the electricity needs of the community.
According to Nebo, the solar power project will provide a few hundred kilowatts, sufficient to light up homes and streets of communities in select local government areas in 16 states across the federation.
This, he said, would be in the short term for about six months, with a goal of lighting up most communities in the select local government areas by the end of this year.
The Minister explained that it was almost impossible to extend the power grid to all rural areas in the country.
“This leaves a majority of Nigerians who live in the rural areas without access to electricity. Providing access to electricity through alternative energy is a technology of necessity for Nigeria. As an alternative energy option, solar and wind power generation will be a practical alternative to supplementing electricity supply in Nigeria,” Nebo said.
The Minister said the project was cost-effective in areas where electricity could not be supplied, especially in the rural, riverside and areas that were remote to the current power grid and energy sources such as waterfalls.
Insufficient power shortages characterize Nigeria where an estimated 120 million, representing 75 percent of the total population do not have access to power.