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GHANA TO PROMOTE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

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Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday assured participants in the Fourth Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra that the New Patriotic Party government is committed to promoting the use of renewable-energy-powered mini grid systems.

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday assured participants in the Fourth Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra that the New Patriotic Party government is committed to promoting the use of renewable-energy-powered mini grid systems.

 

According to Dr Bawumia, this will provide electricity for communities living far away from the existing national grid and assist efforts towards achieving universal access to power.

“Ladies and gentlemen, one key advantage of renewable energy is that it enables access to electricity for communities, especially farming communities and farms that are located far from the electricity grid.

“Access to off-grid electricity means that they, too, can participate in wealth creation through their farming and related activities of agro-processing,” Dr Bawumia said.

Creating jobs

Speaking of the Planting for Foods and Jobs programme, the Vice-President said renewable energy in the form of solar- or wind-powered water pumps could be used effectively to irrigate farms to guarantee all-year-round farming.

“This also ties in with the policy of ensuring that disadvantaged communities in the north of the country have enhanced access to water for farming, in line with our One Village, One Dam policy,” he said.

Another potential use of renewable energy is in biomass technology, said the Vice-President, which can be used to address the challenges associated with waste disposal and sanitation.

He also noted that if renewable energy is used properly, it could create employment for many young people and enable them to improve their livelihoods.

Cost-effective

“A clear example of the job-creating potential of renewable energies could be seen in the establishment of a 100kW waste to energy plant by Safi Sana Ghana Ltd at Ashaiman. Young people collect biodegradable waste in the community as the main input to the production process to generate electricity and organic fertiliser as by-products,” he said.

To this end, Dr Bawumia declared, the Akufo-Addo-led government will promote development of cost-effective and utility-scalable solar energy projects, aimed exclusively at accelerating the development of mini-grid solutions in off-grid and island communities for lighting, irrigation and other economic functions.

He was quick to add that the projects would be subject to competitive bidding to enable Ghana to adopt the most efficient technologies and also achieve value for money.

“Meanwhile, I should mention that the government is supporting the Volta River Authority to develop two utility-scale PV [photovoltaic] plants totalling 12MW in the Upper West Region and a 75MW wind-power plant at Anloga,” he said.

He further urged the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority to consider using cost-effective, utility-scalable renewable energy technologies in irrigation schemes for areas remote from the national grid.

“I also wish to use this forum to challenge the Energy Commission, which has the mandate to promote renewable energy in the country, to proactively engage the relevant ministries, departments and agencies to assist in identifying areas in which cost-effective, utility-scale renewable energy technologies can be used to accelerate or enhance their development plans,” he said.

Power for less

The Vice-President said the present government had inherited a number of power purchase agreements for supply of renewable energy electricity from the NDC, with some tariffs as high as 18 US cents or more per kilowatt hour. As such, the NPP was bent on bringing down the cost of electricity generation to less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour so as to make electricity affordable to all Ghanaians.

He revealed that the Ministry of Energy and the Electricity Company of Ghana had been tasked with using competitive tendering for procurement relating to renewable energy. The ministry and ECG together will ensure that the winner of the tender will be guaranteed a power purchase agreement, connection agreement and government enhancement.

This, the Vice-President explained, will make it possible for the winner easily to reach financial close and ensure that Ghana gets value for money in procuring power from renewable energy.

Another feat under this government, Dr Bawumia said, is the decision to move all government institutions to solar power.

“I am aware feasibility studies are under way for Jubilee House and Parliament House,” he announced. “In due course, feasibility studies and implementation programmes will be rolled out for other government institutions such as schools and hospitals.”

The theme of this year’s Renewable Energy Fair, organised by the Energy Commission, is “Renewable Energy – Exploiting Energy Resources at the District Level”.