The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute, has signed a $1.06m grant with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for complimentary mini-grid deployments within the catchment areas of AEDC
Addressing newsmen after the signing ceremony held in Abuja Friday, the AEDC MD/CEO, Engr Ernest Mupwaya, said that the grant will enable the company carryout feasibility studies on the cashment areas that needs electricity or improved electricity supply.
He said: “There is no one solution for us to achieve 100 per cent accessibility and good supply of electricity. There are some areas which are underserved: those that are connected to the grid, but are receiving bad quality electricity. There are also other areas where we can easily extend the grid. Other areas are off-plan from our big network, but they can’t wait for many years for the huge resources required to extend the grid. So, in those areas, it makes sense to develop mini grid so that they can start having electricity.
“The grant will facilitate some feasibility studies so that we can package these areas mostly into bankable projects. It implies that we can partner with other investors to accelerate electrification by rolling out isolated grids that can supply the power. Our cashment areas have a population of ten million houses. If you do arithmetic of how many people are in each house, you will find out that we do have some positives.
“We project that if we are to reach 100 per cent electrification, then our current demand may have to triple. By augmenting it with renewable sources, it is possible that some of the megawatts will come from solar. That’s the most optimal solution. The feasibility study will be completed within six months, when we will have some bankable documents and then separate the sources and partners to start rolling our next projects.”
Also speaking, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of AEDC, Mrs Ijeoma Ikoku Okeke, said that the company is working with agencies to make sure that power supply is extended to rural communities within the cashment areas.
“Part of our mandate, vision and mission is to provide services to all our customers. We currently have an existing grid that doesn’t serve all our customers, so recognised that we have to partner with many grids that can more quickly deploy energy to rural communities. We are partnering strongly with the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) on four areas.
“A project like this will complement those efforts and help us to more aggressively deploy these grids. The project will be done over a six months period based on the consultants reaching certain milestones and there will be disbursements. We will assess the progress made and they will be paid,” she said.