Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Energy Minister

A 2013 World Bank report has established that Ghana?s energy sector is performing below expectation.

The report, ?Energizing Economic Growth in Ghana: Making the power and petroleum sectors rise to the challenge,? called on Government to fix the problems in the sector to ensure that energy problems did not hinder the country?s economic growth.
It said although Ghana?s economy was achieving sustained growth in excess of 6 per cent annually, with plans to raise it further, misguided and inappropriate policies could prevent the power sector from sustaining the economy.
Also, statistical data recorded from Research and Markets from 2000 to 2009 revealed that residential demand for electricity had risen by 61 percent, driven by rapid urbanization and high economic growth, adding that such a trend was directly influenced by the growing trend towards urbanization.
About 52 percent of Ghana?s population currently live in cities where energy consumption is sufficiently higher than in rural areas.
Furthermore, industrial demand for power has, over the same period, increased by over 64 percent, driven largely by continued growth of the mining sector, as well as growth of the nation?s oil and gas sectors.
Even though Government plans to increase installed power generation capacity from about 2,000 to 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2015, and increase electricity access from the current level of 66 percent to universal access by 2020, it?s struggling to attract? investment to build the necessary infrastructure for supplementary power generation, transmission and distribution throughout the country.

It is to help solve this problem that a UK-based renewable energy firm, Blue Energy, has unveiled plans to build a 155 MW solar power plant in Ghana.
The company has announced plans to finance, build, own and operate the power project near the villages of Awiaso and Akpandue, in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region of Ghana.
The $400 million project to be built under Blue Energy?s local subsidiary, Mere Power Nzema Limited (MPNL) would increase the mix for renewable energy from 1 percent to 6 percent.
According to Douglas Coleman, MPNL Project Director, the project initially would offer 200 jobs to people, out of which 23 would go to expatriates.
The pioneering project is backed by members of the Stadium Group, a large European private asset and development company.
The 155 megawatt plant is expected to increase Ghana?s generating capacity by six percent.

By Samuel Boadi

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