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EBONYI, NIGERIA, August 03, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Federal Government of Nigeria commissioned its first solar hybrid power plant at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI) in Ebonyi state under the Energizing Education Programme (EEP). As a result, FUNAI students and teaching staff now have access to electricity supply from the university's 2.8MW solar hybrid power plant. Under implementation by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) is a federal government intervention focused on developing off-grid, dedicated and independent power plants, as well as rehabilitating existing distribution infrastructure to supply clean and reliable power to 37 federal universities and 7 affiliated university teaching hospitals.
The FUNAI commissioning included the launch of 7.5 KM of solar powered street lights for illumination and safety, as well as a world class renewables training centre. "Thanks to this Administration's focused and integrated off-grid power policy, over 7,700 students and 1,819 faculty staff at FUNAI will have access to clean reliable energy. This Programme will undoubtedly improve the quality of education, research and health care services at our federal universities and teaching hospitals. I'm proud of the role that women have played in the successful implementation of this project from the Head of project being a women to the female STEM students that all worked on the project." Damilola Ogunbiyi, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Rural Electrification Agency stated at the commissioning event.
Commenting on the impact of the FUNAI solar hybrid installations thus far, the EPC contractor, Deepak Thakur, Sterling & Wilson CEO, shared that "the installed 2.8 MW solar hybrid power plant will decommission petrol and diesel generators with a capacity of 1.54MW creating a cleaner and environmentally friendly atmosphere for the university community."
FUNAI is one of the Energizing Education Programme Phase 1 university projects that will deliver clean and sustainable energy to nine Federal Universities and one University Teaching Hospital using solar hybrid and/or gas-fired captive power plants. "It is a privilege that FUNAI is one of the flagship learning institutions paving the way. Our university campus and student life are being transformed every day. Twenty of our female students are among the over 180 participants in the first phase of the EEP STEM Female Internship Programme, which provided our female students with hands-on experience in the design and construction of FUNAI's solar hybrid power plant and training centre" the FUNAI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nwajiuba Chinedum Uzoma explained. The commissioning culminated in the graduation of the STEM participants who received certificates of completion for their technical and practical training.
As an outcome of collaboration between the Rural Electrification Agency, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Federal Ministry of Environment and the National Universities Commission, the EEP represents a significant milestone in green financing in Africa. EEP Phase 1 is fully funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Green Bond, the first certified sovereign bond and the second one originating in Africa. "This Programme signifies the commitment of the Federal Government to protecting the environment and reversing the harmful effects of climate change which is already having devastating effects on our environment. This achievement occurred because government agencies worked collaboratively towards a shared goal of mainstreaming renewable clean energy'' stated Odusote Abimbola, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment.
The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, charged Nigerians to embrace the emerging renewable energy sector that is poised to generate significant impact in Nigerian markets, rural communities and higher learning institutions under the Rural Electrification Agency. "Nigeria is undergoing an energy transformation. With growing solar generation, in particular, a more decentralized energy system is emerging as we encourage more private sector participation, in collaboration with the Federal Government." He further emphasized that Nigeria is at a time of extraordinary opportunity where policies, technologies and markets have been aligned to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future which will have immense socio-economic benefits for Nigeria's development.
The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) tasked with electrification of unserved and underserved communities. The Energizing Education Programme (EEP) is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), to provide sustainable and clean power supply to 37 Federal Universities and 7 University Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria. The project includes the provision of an independent power plant, upgrading existing distribution infrastructure, street lighting to improve security within the universities' campuses, as well as the development of a world class training centre on renewable energy for each university. The programme is being implemented in three phases and funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank and the African Development Bank respectively.
Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo (FUNAI) in Ebonyi State of Nigeria was founded in 2011. The University under the leadership of Professor Chinedum Uzoma Nwajiuba FASN, FNAAE aspires to be a world class center of learning and research that will be reputable nationally and internationally. The academic objectives of the University include;
- To provide access to university education for qualified candidates in all the fields of endeavor for which the University has man date.
- To act as a center for teaching, research and community service that will lead to the acceleration of economic and social development of the catchment areas in particular and the country in general.
- To develop and offer academic and professional programmes leading to the award of university degrees and diplomas with the aim of producing mature graduates that will compete favorably with graduates from other world-class universities.
- To promote local and international cooperation through linkages in pursuit of research, staff and exchanges.
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