Ghana is seeking investment of as much as $1 billion to develop renewable-energy resources over the next eight years, according to the Energy Ministry.
“Policies are in place to exploit the country’s energy potential in solar, biomass, wind, as well as mini-hydro,” Seth Mahu, deputy director at the ministry, said in an interview in the capital, Accra, on Nov. 2. “We are looking at both Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian private-sector operators partnering government to develop these resources.”
Ghana, which has the second-biggest economy in West Africa, has experienced more than three months of electricity cuts after a natural-gas pipeline off the coast of Togo was damaged by a ship. The pipe supplies gas for power from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana and the outage is expected to continue until December, according to the West African Gas Pipeline Co.
Growth in the $39 billion economy 2013 is forecast to slow to 7.8 percent from 8.2 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The renewable-energy investments will add 500 megawatts of power to the nation’s capacity and help expand electricity provision to all parts of the country, “especially in isolated areas,” said Mahu.
Ghana’s current 2,443-megawatt capacity reaches 72 percent of the population, according to figures from the ministry. The damage to the gas pipeline curbed power supplies by about 300 megawatts, Energy Minister Joe Oteng-Adjei said in September.
President John Dramani Mahama, who is vying to win a second term in office for his ruling National Democratic Congress party in an election next month, pledged electricity for the whole country by 2016. Both Mahama and his main opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, promised to boost production to 5,000 megawatts.
Ghana has almost 10,000 solar-panel installations in communities that don’t have access to the national power grid, Edward Bawa, a spokesman for the ministry, said yesterday.
“We are doing a test run of wind-energy installations in the Central region,” he said, referring to the southern area that borders the capital city region.
A hydroelectric plant on a dam at Bui, in the central-west Brong Ahafo region, is expected to add 400 megawatts of power in the first quarter of 2013, said Mahu. Ghana derives 1,180 megawatts from two hydro plants on the Volta River in eastern Ghana, including Akosombo, which was opened in 1965 by the country’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.
Ghana is developing its own natural-gas reserves and will supply 150 million standard cubic feet each day for thermal power generation, Mahu said.
“This will provide cheaper fuel for energy generation from December,” George Sipa Yankey, head of the Ghana National Gas Co., said.