Business News of Thursday, 12 October 2017
As the country moves to firm-up its development and utilisation of renewable energy potential, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) have been given December as the deadline to submit business models for the integration of distributed renewable energy generation.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Energy Minister Dr. Mohammed Amin at the 3rd Ghana Renewable Energy Fair under the theme ‘Renewable Energy: an engine for distributed wealth creation’, said the move is to allow for the re-engineering of both captive and distributed solar generation programme.
“Mindful of the financial implications of all these developments and net-metering policy on our utilities, we are re-engineering both the captive and distributed solar generation programme to ensure a win-win for all,” he said.
“ECG and NEDCO are therefore tasked to work together, to provide for our consideration before the end of 2017 a sustainable business model for integration of distributed renewable energy generation. Whether we like or not, renewable energy has come to stay and we must all be smart, innovative and proactive if we are to enjoy the full benefits of it,” Dr. Bawumia added.
As part of measures to accelerate and promote development of the renewables sectors, he also disclosed that government is seeking an amendment to the Renewable Energy Act 2011, Act 832, to include in it competitive tendering for procurement of renewable electricity, adding: “The ministry has identified some constraints in the Act, and is therefore in the process of addressing the constraints by amending Act 832.”
He was upbeat that if well-harnessed the renewables sector can contribute significantly to socio-economic growth while safeguarding the environment.
Dr. Bawumia cited the Planting for Food and Jobs policy; One-District, One-Dam; irrigation; food processing and post-harvest management as areas wherein renewable energy solutions could play a key role.
The Ghana Renewable Energy Fair is a three-day international conference and exhibition by the Energy Commission that runs from 10-12 October, with the aim of promoting and accelerating uptake of renewable forms of energy in the country.
It brings together international and local actors along the value chain. It also features exhibitions, workshops, technical and network sessions.
Professor George Panyin Hagan, Board Chairman of the Energy Commission, explained that this year’s fair is focused on promoting manufacturing and assembly of solar PV and balance of system components; waste-to-energy and biogas technologies; mini-grids development for rural electrification; and cultivation of woodlot plantations to meet 39% of the energy demand from biomass sources.
“The cultivation of woodlot plantations for fuel, if promoted, will reduce depletion of the country’s biomass resources. It will also provide easy access to sustainable fuelwood for charcoal production, thereby improving the livelihoods of people operating in the wood-fuel sector.
“It is for this reason that the Commission initiated the Sustainable Woodlot Plantations for Schools Programme in 2014 to promote the cultivation of fast-growing tree species on school lands, to reduce the dependence of schools on wood-fuel sourced from the forest,” Prof. Hagan added.