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Ghana: Renewable energy sources in Ghana


Energy Minister Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has disclosed the government's desire to increase the use of renewable energy - solar, wind and thermal - in the country, from the current paltry less than one % to 10 % by the year 2020.

Saying such was the objective behind the Renewable Energy Act passed recently by Parliament, the Minister urged estate developers to provide for solar and other clean sources of energy in new homes, inclunding take chance of the feed-in tariffs in the law that allow ordinary citizens to generate solar or other renewable energy into the national grid for financial incentives.

However, a senior policy analyst at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, John Peter, says though steps towards renewable energy are appropriate, the 10% target by government is over-ambitious.

"It is not achievable, because the current % of the renewable electricity in the generation mix is less than 1% - about 0.01% - if [government] wants to achieve a 10% renewable energy within [its] portfolio mix, the obligation must be on independent power producers to have an equal % of 10%"," John Peter explained, adding that no legal mandate exists for private power producers to so chip in.

The Chronicle thinks that a 10 % utilisation target for renewable energy in the country is a good start, and that if the only obstacle to it is a legal vacuum, again we call on the Energy Minister to get cracking, and get the necessary mandates in place without delay.

We find it befuddling that those jurisdictions with less than a third of the sun's energy we waste in Ghana and Africa daily are the leading users of solar energy, while we hanker excessively next hydro power, whose inadequacy we celebrate with taunts across the political divide.

The point is noted that the initial cost of renewable energy is prohibitive, but we are not talking of ordinary consumers here. The ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs are currently operating from brand new mansions that rely on 100 % traditional sources of power, just like the old places they have moved away from.

How, in the name of God, did those involved with the two constructions not think of empowering them with solar energy? Particularly at the same time as they were put up by the Chinese, who are leading exporters of solar panels to the European Union

There is talk presently of building a new National Theatre in Kumasi. The Chronicle will not be surprised to hear at the end of the construction that no provision had been made for use of solar or other forms of renewable energy. Are we cursed or just mentally lazy?

Forty-five new districts were created just before the 2012 general elections. If the building of chief offices has not by presently started, plans for such buildings would be at advanced stages. One can bet on one's last Cedi that there may have been no thought for use of an alternate power source other than hydro.

The Chronicle advocates a policy that would require all government buildings, old and new, to be fitted with solar panels to a certain degree, if it cannot be 100 %.

Species adapt to their environment for survival. Why should Homo sapiens, particularly its African variant, expect to survive, at the same time as they persistently disobey the basic rules of self-preservation?

No wonder we ape foreign cultures indiscriminately, and even those that we object to, like homosexuality and lesbianism, we are told to shut up and swallow willy-nilly.

We have laid the bed and we must sleep on it!

The ACEP energy policy analyst as well indicated that because the cost of renewable energy is expensive, "consumers, under normal circumstances, would not want to have renewable sources in their energy mix."

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