Renewable energy: Is Ghana committed?

An example of solar project
An example of solar project

By Raphael Berchie

The 21st century has brought with it some  very sophisticated problems which invariably need solutions that are equally sophisticated.

In this era where Climate Change is a reality renewable energy certainly is comething non negotiable.Many countries across the globe have responded to this with urgency and made a lot of strides with respect to renewable energy. Countries like Spain, Canada,Germany just to mention a few are just some countries worth mentioning when it comes to renewable energy.

In 2014 China alone invested over $14 billion in renewable energy which clearly shows the commitment to renewable energy.

Ghana happens to be going through a perennial energy crisis. In an attempt to resolve this issue, there have been a myriad of solutions proffered to ameliorate this situation. There are short term, medium term and long term plans. But sadly in most of these plans the renewable energy  component among the solutions are very limited. Most of the source have been thermal energy.There is even an ongoing debate on Ghana’s bit to build a coal powered plant all in its bid to solve the energy crisis.

To me I think the Government as an entity has not shown enough commitment in the promulgation of renewable energy. Yes there is a renewable energy act but as to how effective that is one cannot really tell. In the last 3 years the only renewable energy plant the government has installed is a 2MW solar in Navrongo and this is coming from a country with a hope of increasing its installed capacity to over 5000MW.

Apart from this, there hasn’t been any governmental policy aimed at promoting renewable energy by individual citizens like tax exemptions, and tax holidays on importation of renewable energy products and gadgets. Although there are supposed policy directions with respect to promoting renewable energy there is no clear cut plan for implementation or enforcement of these rules.

Although the initial cost of renewable energy like solar is very expensive but in the long term, it is cost effective and brings environmental sustainability which is priceless.

A recent report by Oxfam lays credence to this fact. Solar energy alone will be enough to meet Africa’s total energy requirements with even reserves if  that option is fully explored. The second compact of the MCA is purposely dedicated for the provision of electricity. In view of this if there was that commitment to renewable energy, this could have been solely channeled for such projects but unfortunately that is not the case.

As a country Ghana has no excuse not to go for renewable energy. Be it solar, Ghana is a tropical country where the sun shines almost everyday in the

A Biogas initiative
A Biogas initiative

365 days in a year. We have the largest man-made lake in the world. Not to talk about the numerous other water bodies. We have an equally proportionate coast line if tidal energy is the way we want to go or even for wind energy. All these clearly show that it as a result of lack of commitment that is why Ghana has not fully explored its renewable energy potential.

Ever since the oil find in Ghana, a huge attention has been shifted to gas exploration and setting up thermal plants has become the order of the day.This should not be the case judging from the fact that as a country we haven’t fully explored all the avenues in renewable energy. The option of bio-fuels also remains another grey area yearning to be fully explored.

In  this era when Climate Change is affecting lives the least one will do is to do anything that will worsen the carbon imbalance and this is clearly what happens when we use fossil energy.

Renewable energy apart from being perpetual has a lower cost in the long term. Again the cost we pay for the carbon imbalance is something we cannot quantify in any terms not even monetary terms. Not so long ago Ghana experienced  a flood that claimed over 100 lives. Yes you can attribute it to lapses in  the planning of our cities but we should not forget that surely there will be an element of Climate Change.

In this modern era energy is a necessity  and hugely affects all aspects of national growth and development. Since population growth is progressive and proportional to infrastructural growth, the energy requirements will always go up. But there is a solution. And this solution can only be in going in for renewable energy.

Ghana as a country has not fully explored this. In our policies and in documents we are staunch  advocates for renewable energy. But in practice and reality it is a different ball game altogether.We are mere speakers and not practitioners.

But I think it is not too late. We need to impress on the government and the citizenry alike to fully explore renewable energy option. There is a need for more deliberations, round table discussions and advocacy.

Some of these have been already done but the need to push more. Some of us will continually do our advocacy and resist harmful sources of energy like the proposed coal plant. Coal has no place in our modern society.

Renewable energy is certainly the way to go and Ghana as a matter of urgency must embrace it.


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