Government institutions to be hooked onto solar power soon

By
Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Oct.09, GNA – Vice President Dr
Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday announced that Cabinet has taken a decision to move
all government institutions onto solar power to reduce the cost of energy
consumption.

He said feasibility studies were underway for
the Jubilee House, the seat of Government, and Parliament House to go onto
solar adding that in due course same would be rolled out for other government
institutions such as schools and hospitals.

The Vice President gave the assurance that the
Government would continue to pursue renewable energy-based mini grid
electrification to provide 24-hour electricity for productive use on islands
and remote communities.

He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Energy to
harness private sector investment and participation in the programme to
accelerate mini-grid deployment.

He said it was refreshing that the Ministry
was working to achieve the vision of universal access to electricity adding
that currently the country’s electricity access rate stood at about 85 per
cent.

Vice President Bawumia announced this when he
officially opened the Fourth Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra, under the
theme: “Renewable Energy: Exploiting Energy Resources at the District Level”.

The three-day Fair provides the platform to
promote renewable energy technologies and create linkages between the various
stakeholders in the renewable energy space, including researchers, entrepreneurs,
industries and consumers.

The Fair, jointly organised by the Energy
Commission and Ministry of Energy, involved conferences and exhibition of
renewable technologies, which attracted captains of industry, energy experts
and development partners.

It would also ensure collaboration between
government, the private sector and civil society organisations to deliberate on
pertinent issues on renewable energy and proffer solutions.

Vice President Bawumia said he found it
refreshing that the annual fair had shaped the conversation on integrating
renewable energy into the country’s energy mix, and that the theme was chosen
to exploit how renewable energy resources could be used as a cost reduction
measure for energy production and opportunities for job creation.

He said the Government had built five
mini-grid systems on some island communities to supply the indigenes with
electricity and that renewable energy powered mini-grid systems provided the
answers to the energy challenge in the country.

The Vice President noted that one key
advantage of renewable energy was the access it provided communities with
electricity, especially farming communities located far from the electricity
grid, which could help create wealth through related activities of
agro-processing.

“In the case of the Planting for Food and Jobs
Policy for example, renewable energy in the form of solar or wind powered water
pumps could be effectively used to irrigate farms to guarantee all year round
farming,” he said.

“This also ties in with the policy of ensuring
that disadvantaged communities in the north of the country have enhanced access
to water for farming in line with our One Village-One Dam policy.”

Dr Bawumia tasked the Energy Commission to
fast track the development of the Mini-Grid Regulations to ensure the smooth
implementation of the Scheme.

“We often do not see our forests as a
renewable energy resource and, in fact, considering the way our forests are ravaged
by ‘galamsey’ and other indiscriminate acts, our forests are under threat and
may be destroyed completely,” he said.

“Indeed, wood fuel (charcoal and firewood) is
and will continue to be a dominant cooking fuel in Ghana, until rural incomes
increase significantly to support a wholesale switch to LPG or other clean
fuels.”

“Since the majority of our population use wood
fuel for cooking, it is important that the needs of this segment of society are
properly addressed.” 

Dr Bawumia said there were initiatives
underway to ensure that the charcoal and firewood cookstoves used in Ghana were
energy-efficient and generate lower toxic emissions.

He commended the Energy Commission for
developing the standards for Improved Biomass Cookstoves.

Professor George Hagan, the Board Chairman of
the Energy Commission, said the Fair was instituted in response to the
responsibility assigned to the Commission in the Renewable Energy Act 2011,
(Act 832), to develop and promote renewable energy for the socio-economic development
of the country as well as to protect the environment.

He said previous editions of renewable energy
fairs provided platforms to discuss policy and technology briefings as well as
exhibition of efficient renewable energy technologies that had the power to
transform the energy landscape in Ghana and the West African Sub-region.

Prof. Hagan expressed the belief that this
year’s fair would provide a platform for collaboration between government, the
private sector and civil society organisations to promote renewable energy and
facilitate the identification of opportunities for investment.

He expressed optimism that the Fair would
achieve its objectives in finding solutions to the country’s energy challenges
to accelerate development.

The annual renewable energy fair, instituted
in 2015, aimed at discussing how it could be harnessed and used at the local
and district levels for sustainable economic development.

GNA

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