The World Bank and Nigeria are to collaborate on the construction of 1000 solar power mini-grids in Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa. Collaborating with both the government and the private sector, the World Bank’s president, Ajay Banga, announced this initiative recently. With a population exceeding 200 million, Nigeria faces a significant energy challenge. Its installed power generation capacity of 12,500 megawatts (MW) is vastly underutilized. This leads to widespread dependence on petrol and diesel generators.
These mini-grids, composed of compact electricity generation units, typically range from a few kilowatts to around 10 MW. They hold the potential to power approximately 200 households each. During a visit to a mini-grid site near the capital city, Abuja, Banga detailed the progress. Around 150 mini-grids have already been established, with partial funding from the World Bank. These mini-grids deliver electricity to communities deprived of access.
Power Capacity Of Nigeria’s Solar Mini-Grids.
A joint study by the Energy Commission of Nigeria and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) outlines the nation’s solar potential. Current projections suggest utility-scale solar could generate 5GW and 25GW by 2030 and 2050 respectively. Off-grid solar may contribute 13GW and 29.5GW by these same milestones. In a transformative scenario, Nigeria could achieve 10GW and 40GW through utility-scale solar by 2030 and 2050, alongside 21.2GW and 75GW off-grid. With abundant solar resources, Nigeria has an opportunity for sustainable energy expansion.
Banga conveyed ambitious plans to expand Nigeria’s construction of 1000 solar mini-grids, with an additional 300 mini-grids set to be developed in conjunction with the government. This endeavor entails substantial investment, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, though no specific timeline was provided during his statement.
Crucially, Banga emphasized that the World Bank’s role in Nigeria’s construction of 1000 solar mini-grids extends beyond mere financial contributions. He noted that while the institution provides part of the funds, it operates as a subsidy, aiming to encourage diverse contributors, including governmental and private sector entities, to pool resources. This approach reflects a shared commitment to addressing Nigeria’s energy crisis.
In sub-Saharan Africa, a staggering 568 million individuals still lack access to electricity, according to World Bank data. Impressively, Nigeria’s construction of 1000 solar mini-grids is part of a larger effort to transform this stark reality. With nearly 8 out of 10 people worldwide without electricity residing in Africa, this initiative represents a significant stride toward reducing energy poverty and fostering sustainable development.