12 March 2014, Accra – Ghana has made tremendous strides in electricity penetration as compare to other African countries. The country enjoys a total installed capacity of 2,813.5MW mainly from hydro, thermal and more recently from solar. Over 70% of Ghanaians have access to electricity but affordability has been a major issue to both household and corporate consumers.
Notwithstanding this feat, the country’s electricity demand is increasing at the rate of 12% which calls for urgent measures to address the shortfall. Recently, I heard the Energy Minister was “joggling” in the offices of independent power producers in China ostensibly to “woo” them to invest in Ghana’s energy sector. I commend the minister for his zeal towards attracting investments into the energy sector to quicken the achievement of the generation capacity target as promised by the government.
However, if the government wants to achieve its electricity generation target of 5,000 mega watts by 2016, the country needs every single source of energy for electricity generation in Ghana. To have secure, affordable and reliable electricity, the country has to diversify more its electricity generation mix. In the policy formulations, the electricity generation should be premixed on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, economic performance and maintaining a secure energy supply. Hence, meeting the challenge of diversification of the energy sector requires strategic and thought out policies.
For almost half a century now, the main source of electricity generation in Ghana is through hydro. The hydroelectricity accounts for over 60% of the generation mix, comprising Akosombo Hydro Power Station, Kpong Hydro Power Station and Bui Hydro Power Station with generating capacities of 1,020 MW, 160 MW and 400 MW respectively.
These sources of electricity provide enormous benefits to the country in terms of transportation, tourism, fishing and irrigated farming activities along the shorelines. The construction of the Akosombo Dam triggered Ghana’s industrial and economic activities and expansion.
Furthermore, they afford the country an opportunity to earn some foreign exchange by exporting some electricity to Togo and Benin. It is worth mentioning that hydro sources produce near zero carbon emissions. It is therefore, environmental sound and eco-friendly source of energy. Hydropower is an attractive energy source as it is renewable with minimal operational emissions of greenhouse gases.
– The Chronicle