Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has secured a $1.06m (about N380.5) grant from the United States Trade Department Administration (USTDA) to enable it provide electricity to carry out feasibility study towards deploying 1,370 solar power mini-grids in its franchise areas.
At a ceremony in Abuja on Friday, the Managing Director, AEDC, Engr Ernest Mupuwaya who signed for the company said with the support from the USTDA and in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute, said “We are going to be able to conduct a feasibility study that will identify specific opportunities for different areas so that we can ultimately have bankable solutions, which in turn can facilitate partnerships with other investors.
“This will enable us achieve sustainable overall improvement consistent with our desire to provide quality electricity to all our customers within our franchise area.”
Commending the gesture by USTDA, Mupuwaya said the fund will drive a feasibility study on the projects that will be executed by AEDC’ development partner, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Institute.
“USTDA has committed funding that will enable AEDC provide electricity to underserved communities through the implementation of up to 1,370 solar-powered mini-grids with energy storage systems,” he said.
The MD who assured of the firm’s commitment to solving energy crisis cited the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2017 Report saying developing nations especially in sub-Saharan Africa have low access to electricity.
The report estimates 1.1 billion of people yet to be connected while another 1 billion is being supplied with poor quality of electricity.
Mupwaya said the study is to be completed in six months, and will identify optimal rural locations far off from the national power grid, to deploy the mini-grid projects within Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger states where AEDC service.
The Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa at USTDA, Heathier Lanigan said Nigeria has the largest market for energy in the region. On the grant to AEDC, she noted that it will help to electrify dozens of communities where over 1,000 solar energy systems will be provided.
The United States Charge d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon said the grant funding which was also given to two other firms for 110 solar power mini-grids, and gas gathering project demonstrates the US support for Nigeria through the Power Africa programme, a US government initiative to increase electricity access across the continent.