Your Excellency Sir, invited guests, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the launching of our Solar Home Systems (SHS) project, which is anchored on the Presidential Initiative on Rural Solar Home Lighting Systems aimed at extending power to rural communities across the country without any form of access electricity from the national grid.
As Your Excellency would recall, NDPHC was set up as a fast track power sector infrastructure development company in 2005. The company had an initial mandate to develop ten power plants with a designed ISO capacity of 5,067MW. So far the company has completed about 4015MW of this designed capacity representing about 80% of this mandate.
Your Excellency, these power plants are to be centrally dispatched which means that they must necessarily be connected to the grid. This necessitated the need for the company to invest in critical transmission and distribution infrastructure needed to evacuated the electricity generated into the national grid and distribute the same to end users.
The projects NDPHC has executed in that regard include the expansion of thirty-six Transmission Company of Nigeria’s 330kV and 132kV substations across the country and the construction of:
- 1,635Km of 330kv Double Circuit lines,
- 720km of 132kV Double Circuit lines,
- ten new 330kV substations,
- seven new 132Kv substations,
- 6,150MVA of 330/132kv transformation capacity,
- 2,800MVA of 132/33kV transformation capacity; and the provision of over 25,000 complete self-protection (CSP) transformers
The above projects are all grid related. This means that whenever any unit of the power plants is available, only Nigerians with access to the grid could enjoy the electricity so generated. However, there are many Nigerians (estimated at 70 million) without any connection to the grid who still rely on rudimentary lighting systems characterized mainly by use of kerosene lamps, candles and petrol generators with attendant health and safety risks and indeed financial challenges.
By the Solar-Home-System initiative being launched by Your Excellency today, NDPHC, will be actively involved in the process of bringing power to these rural communities, thereby stimulating social and economic activities in the rural communities located off the grid
Under the first phase of the programme, NDPHC will deploy about 20,000 units of solar home systems to the underserved rural communities with no access to grid electricity supply. NDPHC has deployed 200 units of the SHS as pilot programme here in Wuna. The beneficiaries of the 20,000 units are among the already identified communities of the nineteen (19) Northern States of the Federation. The units will be deployed within a period of twelve (12) months.
In order to vigorously drive this initiative, NDPHC engaged Azuri Technologies Group/Azuri Solar Power Nigeria Limited in July 2016. They are to ensure that the first phase of the initiative is achieved within 12 months.
Your Excellency, Sir, please permit me to state that NDPHC adopted a community-based approach that will allow the rural low-income dwellers an opportunity to participate in this project. This approach allows a monthly payment for energy and also acquisition of the SHS unit after a certain period of time.
The project is critical and strategic in so many ways, and a new department is now in place in NDPHC to drive it.
In addition to the SHS unit, our solar project is also directed at auditing and re-activating 1,073 solar powered boreholes. Already two of these boreholes are located in this community and are the first to be repaired and has provided access to clean water for the community. Villagers in Wuna can now make more efficient use of their time rather than spending hours operating manual pumps.
Also here in Wuna is a school with an enrollment of 250 students. NDPHC is using this launch as an opportunity to demonstrate the uses of renewable sources of energy by installing a solar system to provide lighting and power to the students in the school. All their facilities are operational as at today.
Wuna community, with an estimated population of 800 people is predominantly a community of farmers without access to the electricity grid. Before now, they spent money on torchlights, candles, kerosene lamps and petrol generators.
Your Excellency, the installation of solar lighting systems in this community has reduced expenditure on the above items while the farmers also have more hours to package their farm produce such as millet, yam, and guinea corn, ready for the market. Social and economic activities, which hitherto usually shut down at 6 PM, now extend for more hours into the night. School children also have extended hours of study at night.
Your Excellency, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as would be recalled there was a change in management of NDPHC in June 2016, with full constitution of the executive management at the end of August 2016. The new management is fully committed to the mandate of the company to provide enhanced power infrastructure for Nigeria.
The new management has proactively resolved many community-related disputes with the assistance of Your Excellency and the Honourable Minister Power, Works and Housing. These disputes had beforehand delayed project delivery by NDPHC. A case in point is the Oronta Community, Abia State which for many years affected the completion of the Ikot-Ekpene to Ugwuaji (Enugu) transmission line.
A similar reconciliation effort is being finalized in Enugu State with the assistance of an illustrious committee set up by the Governor of Enugu State to resolve the community disputes impeding the completion of Enugu to Nsukka transmission lines; and in Akwa Ibom State again with the assistance of an eminent committee set up by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State to resolve the many community disputes encumbering the completion of Ikot-Abasi to Ikot-Ekpene Transmission lines. The amicable resolution of these disputes will enable NDPHC contractors to return to sites to complete the transmission lines.
Your Excellency, strategies are also in place to complete the second unit of the Gbarain power station in Bayelsa State before the end of this quarter. This will add 225 MW to the grid.
In November last year, the Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, commissioned the 12-circuit Ikot-Ekpene 330KVA Switching Station and the associated transmissions lines with a total of about 285KM completed by our new management. These projects are now assisting in evacuating into the national grid, electricity hitherto stranded in the Eastern Delta.
Your Excellency, through the solar power initiatives being launched today, NDPHC is now looking beyond the grid, as part of its strategic plan to supply electricity to Nigerians. Our plan is to deploy the SHS across Nigeria in the short-to-medium term. We have, through our experience in developing power projects, identified many rural communities in the six geo-political zones of the country where these solar projects will be implemented.
Your Excellency, please permit me to use this opportunity to thank Your Excellency, and the Hon Minister of Power, Works and Housing for your strong support to NDPHC in ensuring that projects are delivered timely;
.In addition, I wish to appreciate the Advisory Power Team (APT) in the Office of the Vice President, particularly, the indefatigable Senior Special Assistant to the President on Power, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, and the very personable Advisor on Solar in APT, Mrs. Lolade Abiola, for their untiring role in pushing this renewable/solar project for the benefit of Nigerians.
I thank our partners, Azuri Technology Group and the project consultants – Otis lkEngineering (led by Engr. Otis Anyaeji, the President of Nigerian Society of Engineers), my colleague, Engr. Mrs. Valerie Agberagba, who leads the solar project team at NDPHC and the entire engineering team in NDPHC for their unflinching commitment to the realization of this project.
Being full text of an address presented Md/CEO of NDPC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo at the launch of Solar Home Systems, Wuna Village in Abuja