Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Scale up renewable energy generation

Last week, government announced the approval of a $230 million Scaling-up Renewable Energy Investment Plan (SREP-IP) by the Climate Investment Fund for Ghana.

It would enable the country to build its renewable sector as cost-effective alternative sources to conventional energy sources.

The SREP-IP is currently being considered by government for implementation, and the Power Ministry would leverage additional financing to achieve flagship investments in the renewable energy sector under the SREP programme.

Earlier in the year, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) unanimously endorsed Ghana’s ambitious investment plan to transform and promote its renewable energy sector that is scaled up around key projects like the provision of renewable energy mini-grids and stand-alone solar PV systems; solar PV-based net metering with storage; utility-scale solar PV/wind power generation; and a technical assistance project.

Ghana’s plan was initially slated to receive $40 million in funding from the CIF's Programme for Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low-Income Countries.

According to government, a systematic exploration and development of the country’s renewable energy resources would remain a major priority of government as that has the potential to reduce development cost and accelerate the process to provide cost-effective alternative energy sources to the costly conventional energy sources.

A significant progress has been made towards the realisation in the development of wind and biomass power plant as negotiations are underway for the Ayetepa 150 Megawatts Wind Project and African Plantation Sustainable Development 60 Megawatts Biomass Power Project for consideration under the ongoing Put Call Option Agreement arrangement, the government said.

The Ministry of Power, in collaboration with the Energy Commission and the Finance Ministry, Ghana Grid Company, Northern Electricity Distribution Company and Electricity Corporation of Ghana, with support from the German Development Cooperation, has successfully conducted the pilot 20 Megawatts solar PV tender.

The rationale is to accelerate the increase of renewable energy generation capacity to achieve price reduction in electricity.

Despite its huge potential to drive economic growth by reducing cost of doing business, as well as being a business on its own, renewable energy has not attracted significant investment interest in the country.

High cost of power generation is usually attributable to procurement of fuel to power generators and the cost of acquiring the generators, but the emphasis has ultimately been on deployment of more cost-effective and weather-friendly renewable energy sources.

Apart from being a business-driver, renewable energy stands as a business on its own.

Stakeholders have been persistent in their advocacy for the development of alternative power from renewable energy sources such as sunlight, human and animal waste, wind, water and geothermal heat. 

They insist that the current level of power generation in the country would not be sufficient for just one state if such a state is fully industrialised.

Some have pointed out that between 70% and 90% of the power energy used in countries such as Brazil is generated from renewable energy sources.

It is about time Ghana took serious steps to developing renewable energy sources.




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