Ghana to promote renewable energy agenda as electricity crisis deepens
VENTURES AFRICA – Once revered as West Africa’s most stable power providing nation, Ghana’s has been quick to rid itself of all envy by plunging a significant portion of its citizen into darkness, a situation that has instigated pockets of protests and social unrest. Efforts have been made to remedy the situation, one of which was its alleged purchase of electricity from Ivory Coast to allow citizens watch the African Cup of Nations finals and enjoy Easter celebrations. Those haven’t proven sustainable, however, and the country is now keen to explore its renewable energy resources.
Last week, it revealed a plan to transform and promote its renewable energy sector, and has already received significant stakeholder support including a $40 million funding package from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) reserved for developing regions. The plan is structured around four key projects; renewable energy mini-grids and stand-alone solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar PV-based net metering with storage, utility-scale solar PV/wind power generation, and a technical assistance project supported by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). The CIF unanimously endorsed the plan at a recent meeting of its governing body and decided to fund it through its Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP).
It has already adopted a set of energy policy targets to ensure universal access to electricity by 2016 and achieve a 10 percent contribution of renewables in the electricity generation mix by 2020.
The road to execution will likely be a tough one. Currently, the sector faces inadequate regulatory, contractual and tariff frameworks in addition to limited funding prospects from investors. However, the SREP funds and a $53.5 million support package from the African Development Bank (AfDB) will scale up the potential for success. “We are very pleased to receive this important endorsement from SREP,” said John Jinapor, the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Power. “The potential we see through this plan for scaling-up the country’s renewable energy development is enormous, not only because of the funding to be provided, but because it will help increase investor confidence, reduce regulatory, institutional and contractual barriers, and provide needed technical support and capacity, and ultimately help Ghana’s citizens to sustainably access climate-friendly energy.”
By Emmanuel Iruobe