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Energy Transition In Ghana And Its Impact In Africa

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Lord Kwame Segbeawu
Lord Kwame Segbeawu

Author: Lord Kwame Segbeawu (Petroleum Engineer & Energy Expert)

Introduction

Energy Transition (ET) as economical sustainability phrase refers to the global economic idea to swing from the usage of fossil influenced systems of energy production and consumption (which primarily in oil and natural gas, coal resources) to a green or renewable energy system (which also include sources like wave energy, solar energy, lithium-ion batteries, etc).

  Fig. 1 Transition from fossil electricity to wind energy

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Source: www.irena.org

The road leading to the change from fossil-based energy regime to renewable energy system, is a challenging one for the entire global economy, looking at the key investment that have been made in the Oil and Natural Gas Industry. This energy transition requires a subtle long-term strategic input from the global energy think-tanks and world economics statistician to create more sustainable sources of energy, that could support both human life and industrialization.

This global initiative to actualizing a better energy source, it still not clear as to which direction to go, where to start from and which countries are truly taking the lead. Carbon-neutral and carbon negative initiatives have already been started by Europe (whose carbon & other greenhouse gases contribution into the atmosphere was so devastating and exasperating in the 1800s and 1900s). A lot of resources has been injected into this global phenomenon and likely most political powers from across the world have also supported and shown great commitment in reducing carbonization, greenhouse gases emission and global warming. Almost all the united nation countries have pledged their allegiance to change from fossil-lead fuel to greener and cleaner form of energy.

Energy experts around the world have made it known on many platforms that Energy Mix is assured phenomenon of reducing the amount of carbon content released into the atmosphere. There are different kinds of Greener Energy Technology around us. Some of these technologies are wave energy, photovoltaic cells/solar panel, geothermal energy, wind energy, to mention but a few. This conversion is gradually bringing a new style living in which humans would have to adapt to them. An example is the manufacturing of electric vehicles and the use of lithium batteries.

Energy transition in Ghana

Ghana as a member of United Nations is ever ready to support this great move to make the world a better place for habitation and industrialization.  Ghana’s ministry of energy had and the office of the president have shown their commitment and supports to help make the world more habitable. This is a message from the Ministry the Energy) “Ghana recognizes that the energy and transportation sectors are key areas in reducing emissions. Consequently, steps must be taken to transition these sectors towards a net-zero emissions future. To attain this, Ghana must transition to the production and utilization of clean energy and the implementation of measures to mitigate any emissions that occur in the process. This will ensure that Ghana contributes her quota to the reduction of global GHG emissions, and, more importantly, achieve decarbonization, energy access and security, and energy efficiency.

As a result, we have developed this National Energy Transition Framework, which is aimed at decarbonizing the energy sector. This is a long- term net-zero framework (2022-2070), expected to complement existing efforts with new measures, such as increased renewable energy penetration, conversion of thermal plants to natural gas and the integration of nuclear power into the energy mix.

This framework will ensure that Ghana’s transition will be achieved in a just and equitable manner. In doing so, Ghana is not oblivious to the need to balance her commitment to net zero, and the urgent need to transform her economy through the exploitation of the natural resources with which she has been endowed. Ghana has discoveries of critical (green) minerals, including lithium and graphite in significant quantities. We recognize that the exploitation of these resources for the transition comes with opportunities, and we are determined to extract these resources, and make efficient use of them through value addition to establish Ghana as a hub for electric vehicles and the production of battery technologies”.

In respect of the above it is clear that Ghana is highly involved in the move to transit from Fossil Fuel and Carbon embedded sort of energy in the global system and energy cycle. The commitment from Ghana is an example for other countries in the sub-region to emulate or even do better than we have shown. As part of Ghana’s commitment, the government is inviting vehicle assembling companies to assemble electric cars (these are vehicles that do not use fossil fuels as their key fuel for operations) and researching more into wave energy and other renewable source of energy.

Economic variables to influence Energy transition

To achieve resource security, environmental and climate sustainability the global energy system requires a paradigm shift from traditional energy to green and renewable energy resources. In the quest for achieving this milestone in the world, there are economic factors whose influence might be of great challenge to the whole exercise or help the entire transition to be actualized.  From literature, the economic variables that might influence energy transition include, geo-politics, ecological governance, technological innovation, economic growth, energy security, environment, existing investments, human resources, energy access, financial power, etc.

Economic variables will be some of the determinant factors that will either impede the process to green energy or will be a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the agreement by the United Nations to go into renewable energy.

 Impact on job creation and beyond in Africa

Energy transition according to research will create more and better jobs that what we might, the perception that green and clean energy regimes will collapse many jobs and render mare job less. According Irena, “By driving the development of new industries, the energy transition can also become a major job creation opportunity for Africa. IRENA’s analysis shows that renewables and other energy transition–related technologies have already created 1.9 million jobs across Africa, a number that will grow substantially as countries invest   

Under the 1.5-S pathway, economywide employment on the continent is 3.8% higher in 2030, and 3.6% higher in 2050, than under PES. Ripple effects of transition-related economic changes mean many new jobs are created across sectors and beyond energy. This is particularly important, since the African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that each year more than 10 million youth enter the workforce in Africa, yet only 3 million new jobs per year are currently created”.

This research work done by the Irena, calls for the total commitment of the various heads of states in Africa to support one another, in order to make the job market more favorable for the young Africans. With this literature, African Leaders have to employ the agenda of training of their youth to embrace the Energy Transition with all confidence. The training areas would have to be deliberate to suit the various technology departments of Renewable Energy, so that no African Child would be left out. It is a fact that energy demand will increase with increasing population in Africa and the world at large, so the only way out for Africa to meet the future demand of renewable energy is for the youth to be trained in those respective field.

Conclusion

Energy transition is a panacea to the global warming effects and the fiece challenges to biodiversity in the world. In line with the Paris Agreement, Energy Transition if allowed will positively change the financial statues of many countries in Africa and that will bring a different enthusiasm in the way Africans do things.

When the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate is reduced to the acceptable level in the global network, there will be cleaner atmosphere and weather, better public  health in the system, biodiversity sustainability and improvement of agriculture from all sides.

The world will be a better place to successfully live, if we all will support the Energy Transition from Fossil supported fuel to Renewable or Green Energy.

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