VRA To Roll-out Energy Conservation Campaign

The Volta River Authority (VRA) says it will embark on a conservation campaign to curb rising household power consumption.

The campaign, if successful, will free-up many megawatts of power for industrial use to spur industrialisation.

“A lot of us don’t conserve electricity. If you don’t need your light, switch it off. We are going to roll-out these demand-side management strategies which will be helpful to all of us,” acting Chief Executive Officer of the VRA Kirk Koffie told the B&FT.

Currently, a large percentage of the power generated in this country, around 62 percent, is consumed domestically — leaving very little for commercial and industrial use. Commercial consumption — which describes power consumed by small or micro businesses — accounts for 18 percent. Industrial or large-scale consumption accounts for 20 percent of the total.

The country’s electricity demand and consumption is rising by 10 percent annually. Demand and consumption hit 1,664 megawatts in 2011 and grew to 1,800 megawatts in 2012. However, the bulk of this demand, according to the VRA, is for domestic or household consumption.

“We have to be very conscious of how we use electricity. If you waste electricity it’s crude oil you are wasting. If VRA cannot buy, government will have to subsidise. That money could have been used for building schools and hospitals. So the VRA will roll-out the campaign to help conserve energy,” Mr. Koffi said.

Energy experts contend that the consumption trend must be overturned to favour industries to create employment, as pertains in other jurisdiction.

Kenya for instance generates about 7,593 GW/h of electricity from hydro, wind, thermal and geothermal sources. Of this 2,433 million KW/h is consumed by domestic users and about 3,440 million KW/h is used by the industrial sector.

VRA estimates that for a country growing rapidly at a rate of about 10 percent per year and using under 2,000 megawatts of electricity, Ghana ought to be bringing on-stream 200 megawatts of new capacity every year.

This additional capacity will require US$200million of investment; however, government is not able to keep up with that kind of investment.

Government at present is pinning its hopes on gas fuel from the country’s oil fields in the Western Region to secure sufficient, cost-effective supply of electricity in the medium-term.