From left to right: Rubitec CEO, Bolade Soremekun, BEDC's MD and CEO, Funke Osibodu and RMI Manager, James Sherwood.

Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Rubitec Nigeria Limited to provide mini-grid electricity to its customers.

The treaty forms part of the power distribution company’s plan to boost power availability to customers in communities within its franchise area.

The agreement was signed recently between the MD and CEO of BEDC, Funke Osibodu, Rubitec CEO, Bolade Soremekun and RMI Manager, James Sherwood.

Based on this, BEDC is expected to facilitate the choosing of locations for mini-grid solar power.

According to the MoU, Rubitec is expected to construct solar mini-grid facilities within BEDC’s licensed area of coverage, while RMI will provide expertise in developing renewable electrical solutions and advise implementation of a pilot mini-grid in the chosen location.

Osibodu highlighted that the initiative was aimed at bridging the service gaps for areas within the company’s network with an existing but poorly supplied or non-functional distribution system or those without an existing distribution system.

Mini-grid initiative

The BEDC CEO said the mini-grid initiative was also necessitated by the need to reduce dependency for power supply through the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

She indicated that one community in Edo State is going to be used as a pilot for the project before it is extended to other locations. Read more: Nigeria’s energy future bright and resilient

According to her, the project will entail an interconnected mini-grid using BEDC distribution lines in the selected locations to distribute solar power to the residents in the communities who are also expected to sign a contract agreement with the suppliers.

Commenting on the development, Soremekun said: “Collectively, Rubitec and our partners are proud to execute the pilot project to provide more knowledge and insight to the interconnected mini-grid space so as to enable more rapid scaling of the concept and model all over Nigeria.”

Sherwood said RMI sees this as a tremendous opportunity to test a new model for delivering clean, reliable, and affordable power to customers.

This will build on the mini-grid implementation work already being done by the Rural Electrification Agency and others across Nigeria and can directly support the development of local economies while providing insight that will benefit the entire industry, he said.

Whilst Edo State is the pilot take-off point, other proposed and feasible locations are being explored for pilot take-off in Ondo, Delta, and Ekiti States.