For the Egbeke community in Rivers State, it is a new dawn with the completion of Green Village Electricity Project (GVE-P), a pilot phase of General Electric (GE) Africa’s off-grid community electrification project in the community.
GVE-P, which is an initiative under the GE Africa-USADF Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, today produces about 6KW of solar-powered electricity which it distributes to over 140 homes in the community, giving the residents opportunity to access electricity for the first time.
This project is in tune with the operational model of GE Africa. As a subsidiary of General Electric, Inc, it delivers innovative technology solutions for regional challenges to help its customers support growth throughout the continent. In particular, GE Energy provides a host of advanced solutions in water, oil and gas, and energy delivery technologies, with a focus on innovative localised energy solutions.
Roland Eberechi, chairman, Egbeke Community Development Association, commended GE Africa for supporting GVE-P in bringing electricity to the community, affirming that Egbeke and its surrounding communities comprising nine villages had never had access to electricity prior to the GVE-Project.
Describing the development as novel, Eberechi added that the project has put the community on the map of Rivers State. “Honestly, there was nothing to show that we were part of Rivers State until this project. We had never had electricity here before now. But with this project, GE has put us on Rivers State map. That’s why we continue to thank Ifeanyi Orajaka, the young man who conceived this project, and GE that has supported his dreams,” he said.
“We are proud to have this project in our community. It has added dignity and honour to our existence. We are now the envy of neighbouring communities. We are gradually moving on to take our place as a community in Rivers State,” he added.
Eberechi stated that the entire community appreciated the project and was grateful to all who contributed in bringing it to fruition, adding, however, that as with every novel idea and initiative, the GVE Project has come with its own challenges.
“As I said, it’s the first time my community is witnessing something like this. So, we are all excited. But as with every new initiative, everyone is eager to have a taste. Unfortunately, what we have at this pilot phase of the project cannot go round all the villages. This is generating a lot of problem,” he said.
According to him, what is being generated now could only serve two villages, noting that areas not covered for now are bound to react.
“You need to see what happened the day they brought the equipment for installation; the whole community was elated and participated in setting it up. You can imagine the frustration of many after the installation, the project could only cover two of the nine villages,” he added.
An optimistic Eberechi, therefore, appealed to GE and other well-meaning organisations to further assist the community and GVE-P to move on to the next phase so as to expand the project to cover the entire community.