General News of Thursday, 5 October 2017
Beginning next year, the Flagstaff House, Parliament House, and other important state institutions will be provided with electricity from solar sources, the Minister of Energy, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, has said.
He told Parliament last Tuesday night that the move was to reduce the load on the national grid, reduce government’s expenses on electricity and send the right signal that solar energy was the right way to go.
He was in Parliament to request the House to ratify the framework agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
Parliament subsequently ratified the framework agreement after the presentation of the report of the Committee on Mines and Energy which recommended the ratification of the agreement.
With the ratification, the government can leverage on the opportunities offered by the alliance to accelerate Ghana’s quest to increase it’s renewable energy mix, including solar, from the current one percent to 10 percent by 2030.
Ghana’s vision on solar
Mr. Agyarko said the government’s policy goal regarding renewable energy was to increase the penetration of renewable energy, including solar, in the energy mix.
“The target associated with this goal is to achieve 10 percent renewable energy contribution by 2030 from the current contribution of an estimated one percent,” he said.
To that end, he said, the government would encourage increased private sector investment in utility-scale solar and wind energy projects.
The minister said all the hydro-power plants in the country would be converted to hybrid-power plants to operate both hydro and solar.
He said under such combination, the plants would use solar during the day and operate hydro at night.
That, Mr. Agyarko said, would expand the possibilities of the dams and also conserve the water in the reservoir much better.
He said there were also plans to connect all public junior high and senior high schools to solar power.
Significance of ISA
He said Ghana had a lot of solar energy resource and it needed to have enough avenues and alliances to help it exploit solar energy to increase its energy mix.
He said the ISA allowed 121 countries and organizations rich in solar resource and lying between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to collaborate in research, technology, and investment to deepen the use of solar energy.
He said Ghana could also be attractive to investments and put the country on a better platform to increase its solar energy generation.
Mr. Agyarko said Ghana could also access part of the $2 billion out of the $10 billion of lines of credit pledged by India to Africa.
Mines and Energy Committee
The Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee, Mr. Emmanuel Akwasi Gyamfi, said the framework agreement would enable the government to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the ISA to increase its renewable energy mix.