On July 6, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the 1.52 Megawatts Solar Power project to provide uninterrupted power to the Ministries of Works and Housing;Environment and Lands in Abuja. TOPE SUNDAY reports.
There is no gain saying the fact that Nigeria’s electricity supply is not stable. While some areas are getting constant power supply, others are staying in darkness. Government offices, agencies and parastatals are not also left out. It is in this wise that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on July 6, 2021, pioneered the use of alternative power in the ministry.
The 1.52 Megawatts Solar Power is expected to provide uninterrupted power to the ministries of Works and Housing; Environment and Lands in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Buhari: It’ll improve power supply
Commissioning the project, President Muhammadu Buhari said it was a testimony of his administration’s commitment to increasing power supply across Nigeria through the mini grid, stating that it would also assist in reducing the carbon emission that could be an environmental hazard in the country.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the president said his policy is to ensure access to small scale off-grid electricity and increasingly becoming available to Nigerians in the market places, universities and business premises.
“It is pleasing that the government is taking its own medicine by making its off-grid power, this is a worthy option for other agencies of government to consider. In addition to the policy implementation, this government has made commitment with other leading countries of the world under the Paris climate change agreement”, he said.
He maintained that the heart of the agreement is a resolve to reduce carbon emission by turning to renewable source of energy this 1.5 mega watt solar farm which is the largest solar project for a public building in Africa, which will reduce carbon emissions.
“This is one of the things we are proud of, that we are contributing to saving the climate for future generation. The impact of reliable energy on the ability of our public servants housed in this building to efficiently discharge their responsibilities to the members of the public,” he said.
According to him, as critical enablers of the private sector, the improved efficiency in public service delivery can only be expected to translate to an improvement in the ease of doing business.
“The major objective of our economic plans is to grow the Nigerian economy and create jobs. I want to reassure you of our administration’s commitment towards promoting energy efficiency by ensuring energy security to all Nigerians.
“There is a procurement of up to 150 mega watt solar power along Maiduguri axis to help address the issue of electricity supply in that axis and enhancing grid stability through the provision of green renewable energy, ‘’ Buhari said.
Fashola: Plant to save N270m in 20 years
Speaking extensively on the project, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who disclosed that it was approved by the Federal Executive Council on the 20th March 2019, said it would reduce the diesel consumption of the two ministries from 764,248 liters per annum to 166,825 liters per annum, adding that it would also save them N270, 945,000 in 20 years.
The minister stated that during the execution of the project, a total of 382 artisans and 176 skilled workers were employed, stating that it would also reduce the government’s operational expenses and recurrent expenditure.
He explained: “What we have delivered, is based on the mandate of the Federal Executive Council, is a 1.52 MegaWatts Solar System that will provide uninterrupted power supply to five blocks housing the Ministry of Works and Housing and Ministry of Environment and Lands.
“This project employed 382 artisans and 176 skilled workers throughout its duration, in fulfillment of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of creating jobs. It would see to the reduction of average diesel consumption from 764,248 litres per annum to 166,825 litres per annum and cost saving of NGN270, 945,000 over 20 years and contribute towards the reduction of government operational expenses and reduction of recurrent expenditure.
“It has led to the upgrade and retrofitting of our electrical appliances by replacing 400 old Air-conditioning units with 400 new inverter-based energy efficient Air-conditioning units and replacing 2600 old light fittings with energy efficient LED ones all of which are energy saving because they consume 40% less energy”
He stated that with the investment, his ministry had built its own mini-grid, in consonance with the current administration’s policy to promote off grid option, thereby making more of the on grid power available to ordinary Nigerians who cannot afford the cost of investing in off-grid power.
Fashola said other government buildings can follow the path and assured that his team will be most enthusiastic to provide the support, and share their experiences and lessons learned, working with the Ministry of Power.
Environment minister: Other ministries should take a cue
Similarly, Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar, said the project has shown the consistency Nigeria’s National Developmental Contributions (NDC) under Paris agreement which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2nd of September, 2016 and 20th March, 2017 under the 75 section of the United Nations climate summit.
Abubakar: “It is therefore very pertinent that the federal government on its efforts has implemented and mitigated this project for the benefit of Nigerians. It is also worthy to note the important of the project to the federal ministries and other institutions of government including the federal ministry of environment.
“This would improve the conducive working environment and productivity of workers. Our ministry is pleased to be identified with this noble project and I like to encourage other ministries and inter ministerial agencies to take a cue from this major initiative as part of the country’s climate change agreement, “he said.
He commended the minister of works and housing and all the management of the ministry for achieving giant strides .
UN deputy secretary: It’ll boost Nigeria’s economy
The Deputy Secretary General -United Nations, Amina Mohammed, on her part, while expressing confidence in the 1.52 mwh power plant, said the project will bring more opportunities to the Nigerian economy and create new avenues for jobs .
She pointed out that 759 million people in the world still lack access to electricity and all the opportunities it brings for achieving the sustainable development goals.
“This is why it gives me great pleasure to be part of this launch ceremony which highlights Nigeria’s commitment to the energy transition with renewables. This is a great example of the kind of climate responsive action we need”.
“Projects like this one are a beacon of hope, a showcase of what is possible and urgently required to reach our global goals, including the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal number 7 on energy. This project launched today – engaging cutting-edge Tesla Power Pack, Canadian Solar modules, Schneider Electric electrical components, and Stantec – is an expression of the type of innovation on efficiency and renewables that the world needs.
“It shows how the public sector can lead the way on retrofitting buildings at scale and set the benchmark in this area. This has shown how Nigeria Leadership is committed to energy transition to renewable energy”, she said