Accra, Nov. 3, GNA –
Government has identified renewable energy based- mini-grids and standalone
renewable energy solution as the most promising cost effective option to
extending clean electricity to communities that national electricity grid
cannot be extended to.
Dr Kwabena Donkor, Minister of Power, said modest progress has been achieved including provision of over 500 Community Health facilities, 800 basic schools, and 90,000 homes in remote parts of the country with solar home systems and portable lanterns.
“I am aware of the ongoing mini-grid power plants to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to about half a million Ghanaians living in island communities and along the Volta Lake.
Speaking at the First Ghana Renewable Energy Exhibition and Conference in Accra, he said the Government in an effort to address the country’s energy supply challenges and ensure sustainable development passed the Renewable Energy Act, 2011 (Act 832).
The Act is to provide the legal framework for large-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies.
Dr Donkor announced that from next month, the official commissioning of the first phase of the mini-grids would be done and congratulated the team and the development partners working on those projects.
The three-day conference under the theme: “Renewable Energy Technology for Sustainable Development,” is being organised by the Energy Ministry, Energy Commission alongside the West African Clean Energy and Exhibition and Conference (WACEE) as well as German Trade Delegation.
Dr Donkor said the passage of the Renewable Energy Act, in 2011, has resulted in a surge of investment in the renewable energy sector.
He noted that a number of projects have already been completed, including the Volta River Authority’s 2.5 MW grid-connected solar PV system at Navrongo in 2013, and the 20 MW solar plant constructed by a private power investors in the Central region.
“The Volta River Authority is further undertaking feasibility studies to add 12 MW grid-connected solar PV in the Upper West region.
“The VRA is again undertaking feasibility studies for a 75 MW wind park along the eastern coast of the Greater Accra region to generate electricity from wind.
“A number of Independent Power Producers are also working on several wind, solar, and waste-to-energy projects,” he added.
Dr Donkor said government had counted the cost and was determined to accelerate the development of the value chain of renewable energy innovatively.
“The price of solar energy in many parts of the world has reached grid parity.
“In the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Brazil and Uganda, the price of solar electricity is far below the price of electricity generated from some of the cheapest conventional sources.
“Our strategy therefore is increase the contribution level of renewable energy at the most cost effective manner,” he said.
Dr Donkor therefore congratulated his Ministry, Energy Commission, and other collaborators and all the partners for the choice of the theme for the fair.
The Minister said the theme was perfect in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He noted the SDG 2030 Agenda which comprises 17 SDG is the world’s major rededication and commitment to fighting growing inequality, wiping out extreme poverty and tackling climate change over the next 15 years.
He said renewable energy in particular plays a critical role in fighting growing inequality, wiping out extreme poverty and tackling challenges of climate change.
Dr Donkor explained that it provides the impetus for sustainable development - a development strategy that balances economic and social developments with environmental protection.
Rudiger John, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana, said Germany has a lot to offer to make energy in Ghana more efficient and reliable.
He said over 80 per cent of Germany’s energy is from renewable sources and stressed the need for Ghana to use more sources of energy to meet its energy and power needs.
Dr Kwame Ampofo, Chairman of Board of Directors, Energy Commission, said the Commission over the years conducted several initiatives to bring the benefits of renewable energy to the attention of businesses and the public.
He said the Commission also set up a platform to further inform and educate government agencies, businesses, and the public on the opportunities available in the sector and the benefits to be gained from the deployment of renewable energy solutions.
Dr Ampofo said the fair, intended to be an annual exhibition and conference event, aimed at unlocking the potential for the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies in Ghana.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the fair would help to increase the level of awareness and understanding of renewable energy technologies, and lead to a significant uptake of renewable energy solutions in the country.
Mr Patrick Martins, Representative of Germany Trade Delegation, said they would continue their advocacy on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
He urged the participants and exhibitors to interact to enhance networking with both local and international players in the sector.