L-R: Engr. Barka, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, DG NADDC, Ms. Asmau Jibril and Mr. Olumide Fatoki at the unveiling of Electric Vehicles in Lagos
The Federal Ministry of Power (FMP) has developed an Electric Vehicle (EV) pilot project, with the financial support of the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), within the framework of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP). The feat was achieved at Gbamu-Gbamu, one of the mini-grid sites supported by NESP during its first phase, and has produced insights on the potentials of EVs in rural and peri-urban communities.
Solar mini-grids are increasingly recognised as a key solution to increase electricity access in rural and periurban areas, in a timely and sustainable manner. While the solar mini-grid market is experiencing a rapid development in the country, it is necessary to ensure the sustainability of these solar mini-grid projects. The economic development of these communities rests largely on the productive and effective utilisation of the energy provided by the mini-grids.
At the Unveiling Electric Vehicle Opportunities in Rural and Peri-urban Communities ceremony held in Lagos, the Acting Director the Renewable and Rural Power Access Department FMP, Mr. Abubakar Dapshima, spoke on the relevance of the EV pilot project at the Gbamu-Gbamu solar mini-grid community. “The objective of the project is to showcase the opportunities and impact electric mobility synergised with solar mini grid projects bring to communities. The project has thus far revealed great benefits that cut across economic and environmental aspects, to both the community dwellers and the mini-grid developers,” he stated.
The Executive Director, Rural Electrification Agency, Barka Sajou, said: “While investors are being encouraged to explore the solar mini-grid sector, one major challenge to the sustainability of the sector is the adoption of mini-grids for productive use activities. To resolve, the Rural Electrification Agency, with support from NESP, continues to support mini-grid developers to scale-up sustainable solutions for the sector,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Ms. Inga Stefanowicz Head of Section, Green and Digital Economy at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the EU’s support within the framework of NESP aims to create an open market for more investments in the renewable energy market in Nigeria in order to advance access to reliable and affordable electricity in Nigeria, especially in the disadvantaged areas of the country. The EU is also keen on promoting initiatives aimed at boosting energy demand in the solar mini-grid space including the use of electric vehicles.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, MFR, the Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) noted the agency’s commitment to promoting investment in the automotive sector, and recognised EVs as not just the future of transportation but a technology already in use and beginning a paradigm shift, even in Nigeria. NADDC’s National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), currently being implemented, captures the role of EVs in driving Nigeria’s economy. Recently, the agency enabled and promoted the assembly of the first Electric Vehicle in Nigeria, the Hyundai Kona EV, and is now working on strategies to scale and mainstream EVs across Nigeria. He added, “It is therefore an excellent development that electric motorbikes are already being deployed and tested in rural mini-grid communities, revealing huge potential for the role of electric mobility across Nigeria”, he said.
In the first phase of NESP, the programme provided capital in-kind grants to support the development of six (6) solar mini-grids in rural communities providing clean electricity to approximately 16,000 people across five (5) states in Nigeria. The Head of Programme, NESP, Mr. Duke Benjamin represented by Mr. Olumide Fatoki, Head of Unit Sustainable Energy Access, NESP, emphasised that “Nigeria has up to 100 operational Nigerian Energy Support Programme mini-grid sites which have extra or additional power to give. Hence, NESP is trying to increase productive usage in these places to increase social activities, economic activities and improve livelihood”, he said.
Data provided by the NigeriaSE4All platform (www.nigeriase4all.gov.ng) shows the possibility of 4,000 potential mini-grid sites that could be developed. In each of these mini-grid sites, EV projects could be applied and foster the economic development of the communities.
NESP is a technical assistance programme co-funded by the EU and the BMZ and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power (FMP). It aims to foster investments for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and to improve access to electricity for disadvantaged, rural communities.