The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been urged to utilise the over $500 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Fund to facilitate mass production and distribution of renewable energy to rural communities.
Chief Executive Officer of Energy Industry Development Initiative (EIDI), Dr. Tom Obaseki said the measure would enhance the wellbeing of the citizenry.
Obaseki expressed the readiness of the ECOSMART integrated modular power mini-grid solution to provide a cheap source of clean electricity and heat to underserved communities in the country.
He explained that ECOSMART is a total waste to wealth concept that is based on the circular economy, which will help to solve the main infrastructural and developmental problems of the country, including electricity and clean energy access, sustainable waste management, and organic fertilizer for agricultural use food security.
He noted: “The renewable electricity power solution thus comes with underlying economic, environmental and social benefits for rural dwellers, especially women. ECOSMART, which is currently under development, consists of a consortium of three Nigerian firms.”
Obaseki further stated that ECOSMART mini-grid plant explores the techno-economic feasibility of a smart, hybrid, renewable, mini-grid solution coupled with innovative circular economy business models.
According to him, the proposed mini-grid integrates high throughput Anaerobic Digestion (AD) with solar technology to provide renewable electricity and gas on-demand and ensure gender advantage in economic returns for women.
Obaseki also enjoined the Nigerian Ministry of Environment to embrace the smart technology and ensure its widespread deployment as it is designed to process waste and generate biogas 12 times faster than conventional Continuous Stirred Reactor Tank (CSTR) systems.
He noted: “With the impact of poor waste management on flood and gully erosion, deployment of anaerobic digestion plants should be classified as an investable project from the Ecological Fund estimated at over $120 million.
“As part of the design, the system will produce biogas, soil amenders, and fertilizer in a ratio beneficial for soil management, supporting local, regenerative agricultural practices. The project will demonstrate the use of clean, renewable biogas for cooking, replacing biomass fuels, which cause well documented respiratory and other health issues, particularly for women and children.
“Biogas will also be used to generate heat and electricity to power homes and businesses such as cassava drying, food processing, charging for e-bike delivery services, etc. A pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mechanism will be used to explore the potential for community ownership of energy and waste management assets, while a smart data approach aims to help rural and peri-urban communities leapfrog inefficient, expensive, centralized infrastructure with an equitable model of circular resource management.