13 April, 2022 Member article

ENGIE Energy Access launches its first mini-grid in Nigeria – connecting local community to electricity for the first time

  • Hybrid 90 kW mini-grid connects households and small businesses to clean, reliable power
  • Launch directly impacts 1,500 people in Niger State
  • Inauguration attended by African government and energy industry dignitaries

12 April 2022 – ARE Member ENGIE Energy Access, a leading provider of solar homes systems and mini-grid solutions, has inaugurated its hybrid 90 kW mini-grid to connect unelectrified households and small businesses in Nigeria.

With this mini-grid, ENGIE Energy Access connects the people of Gbangba community in Niger State to an electric power supply for the first time ever and empowers over 300 customers, comprising households, and micro and small enterprises (MSEs). The mini-grid directly impacts over 1,500 people by providing them with affordable, reliable and clean electricity.

The mini-grid was formally inaugurated today by the Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, Honorable Mamman Musa, who acted as representative for the Executive Governor of Niger State, His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Sani Bello, as well as the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, at a launch event attended by dignitaries from the Nigerian government, power sector, traditional institutions, youth, media and the local community.

Speaking at the launch, Bankole Cardoso, the Managing Director of ENGIE Energy Access Nigeria, said that Nigeria’s electricity challenge remains a huge gap that needs to be filled in the country’s journey to fulfill its full potential as a nation.

Cardoso said that the power challenge in Nigeria requires the support of the private sector, and the construction of the Gbangba mini-grid demonstrates how private investment can help to address the infrastructure gap in the energy industry.

Cardoso added: “This mini-grid will foster socio-economic development and prosperity in the Gbangba community, its people and its neighbors. It will serve private households and commercial businesses – provision shops, grocery sellers, bakeries, mobile phone chargers etc. It will boost the productivity of farmers and food production by powering agricultural loads such as irrigation pumping and cold storage, productive loads such as grind mills and wood or metal working shops, and semi-industrials such as telecom towers and processing plants.”

Gillian-Alexandre Huart, CEO of ENGIE Energy Access, said that this mini-grid is not only a win for Gbanga community but a win for Nigeria at large, as it demonstrates ENGIE Energy Access’s strong commitment to meeting the growing decentralized energy needs with an ambition to build 100+ mini-grids throughout the country.

He said: “The launch of our first mini-grid in Nigeria means that we have now installed mini-grids in five African countries, with other ENGIE Energy Access mini-grid sites in Benin, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

“Our plan is to further expand our mini-grid business on the continent over the coming months and years – adding other countries to our footprint. The launch of the Gbangba mini-grid is a further demonstration of ENGIE Energy Access’s commitment to improving the quality of life and economic potential of people in rural communities, by increasing their capacity for productivity.”

Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s lowest energy access rate, with more than half of its people unconnected to electricity. In Nigeria, about 43.5% of people live without access to energy. This presents an opportunity to employ grand-scale innovation and the intervention of renewable energy solutions within the electricity sector in Nigeria.