A Financial and Economic Journalist, Kwabena Adu Koranteng has called on the government to provide an attractive and business-friendly environment for the private sector to invest more in Ghana’s renewable energy drive in a bid to boost power supply in the long term.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Mr. Adu Koranteng who is also a communication Specialist said investment from the private sector is strongly needed to boost Ghana’s renewable energy programs.
He said Ghana’s Renewable Energy Master Plan REMP which is a US$ 5.6 billion investment master plan, requires more than 80% of the investment flow coming from the private sector.
On annual basis, the REMP translates into an estimated US$ 460 million investment. The plan he said is expected to be implemented over a 12-year time-space, from 2019 to 2030.
The successful implementation of the plan, he said would lead to an installed electricity capacity of 1363.63 MW (with grid-connected systems totalling 1094.63 MW), and lead to the creation of 220,000 jobs and carbon savings of about 11 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
According to Mr Adu Koranteng REMP has strategies to minimize the adverse impact of the various renewable energy technologies and targets on land use through spatial planning.
Touching further, Mr Adu Koranteng said the government should FastTrack the process of providing the enabling business environment and work to remove the bottlenecks that hinder growth in the private sector.
He proposed the establishment of a renewable energy manufacturing and assembling as part of the master plan by providing Substantial tax reduction; exemption of materials, components, equipment, and machinery (that cannot be obtained locally) for manufacturing or assembling, from import duty and VAT, up to the year 2025; and exemption of Import duty on plants and plant parts for electricity generation from renewable energy resources.
With regards to infrastructural development, he said the government should dedicate significant budgetary allocations to fund detailed technical studies at a national level and assist GRIDCo to invest in modern weather forecasting equipment and stations synchronised with weather stations at various utility-scale renewable electricity installations for proper and timely planning of the subsector and evacuation of renewable electricity as proposed in the master plan.
In view of this, all variable renewable electricity generation plants shall be required to install weather stations on site.
He said Government should also team up with well-equipped training centres to provide technical and entrepreneurial training programmes to interested groups and individuals on renewable energy he said technical capacity development should target areas such as solar PV system design and installation, construction of biogas digesters, design and construction of gasifiers, improvements in the design and construction of improved household and institutional cookstoves, design and construction of small-scale biomass briquetting and pelleting machines, repair and maintenance of aforementioned systems as proposed in the master plan.
Mr. Adu Koranteng also commended The Bui Power Authority (BPA) for giving the nation a 25 megawatts (MW) of solar power, which has been switched onto the national grid
Mr Adu Koranteng used the opportunity to congratulate Bui Power Authority and urge the government to as a matter urgency cloth BPA with the renewable Energy Authority Act to effectively deal more with renewable energy stuff.
The switch was done under GRIDCo’s guidance, which examined the facilities and gave the green light for the switching to be done.
The BPA, with its generation assets in the middle belt, last month completed the construction of a 50MW solar system, Ghana’s largest solar farm, and the first phase of a 250MW project expected to be completed by the end of next year.
The solar project is being constructed in phases of 50MW.
Although the use of solar energy in the country picked up some time in the 2000s when the German government supported the Energy Commission to promote the household use of solar power installed on rooftops, this is the first time solar is entering the grid for national use, a feat which is also the first in West Africa and about the third in Africa. The achievement by the BPA is also significant in many ways.
Aside the 250MW project centred at Bui alone, which started in 2017 under a Bui Hydro-Solar Hybrid (HSH) scheme, there are plans to develop other solar plants in the northern part of the country, with six sites already identified.
They included Bawku, Yendi, Zebila and Tumu, he said, adding that plans were far advanced to start the Yendi project.
The country’s first large-scale solar farm was the 2.5MW Navrongo Solar Power Plant in the Upper East Region.
There is also a 20MW solar farm by BMC near Winneba.
Additionally, there is the 17MW solar plant in the Nadowli Kaleo District in the Upper West Region.
It is made up of the 13MW Kaleo solar power plant and the 4MW Lawra solar plant.
Although the power will be evacuated by GRIDCo onto the national grid, it will be localised for parts of the Upper East Region.
Citing Morocco as an example , he said Morocco is on the right path regarding renewable energy efforts (relative to most other countries). As per 2019 data, the country meets 35% of its electricity needs with renewables. And it’s leading in solar endeavors
For example, its Noor Ouarzazate Solar Power Station is the largest concentrated solar power plant on the planet, generating enough energy to power a city twice the size of Marrakesh. And its Tarfaya Wind Farm is Africa’s largest onshore wind farm, producing enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes!
Morocco has bigger plans and aims to do even better. It has set a bold target to source more than 50% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050, adding 1.5GW renewable capacity annually.
These targets and other climate change policies have positioned Morocco as the second most prepared country in the Climate Change Performance Indexes for 2018 and 2019. Even amid the pandemic, the country’s renewable energy sector improves.
According to the Solar Outlook 2021 report by UAE’s Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), Morocco is pushing ahead with its plans to meet the targets. The report said:
The efforts put in place by Morocco to create green policies increased rapidly since its support and signature of the Paris Agreement.
The country is committed to implementing its renewable energy strategy. Despite some uncertainties due to COVID19, its targets for 2020 were expected to be reached, and its ultimate goal to produce 52% of its electricity from renewables.
The rapid growth of the additional share of electricity from renewables induces, similarly to other countries, issues of integration to the grid, and Morocco is increasingly looking into smart digital solutions.
Solar will be the go-to option seeing as it’s now the cheapest electricity option in history. The next runner up is wind power since the country has substantial natural wind resources.