REA ORGANIZES TRAINING FOR AE-FUNAI STUDENTS IN SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY
On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in collaboration with Sterling & Wilson (SWLN) and Asteven Renewal Energy Academy (ASREA), inaugurated training of 100 undergraduates in Solar Energy Technology at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, as part of its Energizing Education Programme (EEP), aimed at developing off-grid captive power plant projects for the generation and provision of adequate power supply (89.6MW) to 37 Federal Universities and 7 University Teaching Hospitals across the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with AE-FUNAI as first University to benefit from the programme.
Present at the event which took place at the 2.8 MW installed capacity Solar Hybrid Power Plant site (WTC Building) in the University campus, were Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, Vice-Chancellor, AE-FUNAI ,who was represented by Dr Iheanacho Ezeocha, Director, Physical Planning, Works and Services (PPW&S), Prof. Magnus Onuoha, Executive Director, ASTEVEN Renewable Energy Academy(ASREA), Engr Kalu Okwara, Resident Engineer, REA, Mr. Satish Kuranali, Plant Manager, Sterling & Wilson, Mr. Jeremiah Aigbokhan , Administrator/ Instructor, ASTEVEN Renewable Energy Academy ,amongst others.
While delivering his opening speech, Engr. Kalu Okwara Orji stated that, the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is a Federal Government Agency under the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, with the primary objective to increase electricity access to underserved rural communities, adding that the Agency has developed the off-grid electrification strategy as part of its plan to fast track some of its development initiatives towards achieving the overall objective of the Federal Government Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP).
He further noted that the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) is one of such initiatives being implemented by REA, iterating that the benefits of EEP include improvement in the quality of educational systems at tertiary level, in line with international best practices, empowering staff and students, access to reliable power supply, powers ICT and internet facilities, enables effective functioning of research and technology hubs, and many others.
Vice – Chancellor, Prof. Nwajiuba, on behalf of management and staff of the University welcomed the Managing Director, REA Abuja, members of staff and management of Sterling & Wilson, guests and members of the University community present at the very important occasion “…wherein some of our students are to acquire valuable skills in engineering design, scientific research, maintenance and energy management”.Prof. Nwajiuba recalled that on August 2nd 2019, the Vice President ,Prof. Yemi Osinbajo commissioned the 2.84 MW Solar Hybrid Power Plant in the University, as part of the Energizing Education Programme, noting that AE-FUNAI was the first Federal University in Nigeria at which such
Project was completed and that the University has been enjoying 24hours electricity supply daily and this has positively impacted on staff and students’ welfare, learning, teaching and research on campus in addition to reduction of both atmospheric carbon emission and recurrent expenditure on purchase of diesel for generating sets. He further charged sterling and Wilson Nigeria Limited and other personnel involved in the training Programme to be thorough and to focus on development of core skills such as engineering design, fabrication and maintenance Skills, research skills in areas of engineering, climate change and plant management and entrepreneurial skills, to make the students drivers of the country’s economy. Prof. Nwajiuba also urged the trainees to take full advantage of the training programme and acquire life enduring skills, reassuring the commitment of the university to her partnership with REA and by extension SWLN.
Prof. Onuoha remarked that energy poverty has negatively affected so many communities across the country, bringing about unemployment and carbon emissions, adding that the government is sourcing out means to reduce the energy poverty in the country and one of such means is by the installation of 2.8 Mega- Watts installed capacity of solar hybrid Mini-Grid in AE-FUNAI and would require skilled knowledge of trained and certified graduates in Solar Energy Technology to maintain and troubleshoot in a bid to reduce unemployment and increase skilled workforce in the sector .
Highlight of the event was the question and answer session, when students were given opportunity to ask questions which were taken satisfactorily by the trainers. Engr. Sunday Adebayo, Deputy Director, PPW&S,AE –FUNAI who gave closing remarks, expressed profound appreciation to REA and other partners in the training for the great opportunity given to AE-FUNAI students and encouraged the trainees to take full advantage of the training to better their lives and give back to the society.