Power and petroleum sector round-table forum held

March 28, 2017
Source: thebftonline.com/Ghana
Power and petroleum sector round-table forum held

A national round-table forum on the power and petroleum sector has been held to discuss how the provisions in the 2017 budget could address challenges in the energy sector.

The forum was organised by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) in collaboration with the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth Programme (GOGIG) to tease out issues in the 2017 budget on the petroleum and power sector.

The Deputy Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Benjamin Boakye, said the forum was necessary for civil society actors, to discuss how the provisions in the budget could address challenges in the energy sector.

He explained that the need for the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the committee with oversight responsibility over the prudent management of petroleum revenues, to deliver on its mandate now that the government has allocated funds for its operations.

The Executive Director of the Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment (KITE), Mr. Ishmael Edjekumhene, speaking on the current Renewable Energy Act, 2011, he called for major policy changes in the Act. Instead, he said, all the incentive-based provisions in the law should be allowed to work.

He explained that the law in its current state, makes provisions for feed-in tariffs, purchase obligation, establishment of renewable energy fund, but as always, implementation of the provisions continues to be a challenge for the country.

“The Renewable Energy Act has all the incentives-based mechanism. The only problem is that after putting them in the Act, we haven’t actually implemented them. It was necessary for the government to ensure that the law was working, rather than the amendment it intended to do.

“The President said they were going to amend the Renewable Energy Act. I don’t think what we need is an amendment at this stage, because the law, as it is, is a very good law. It has all the essential ingredients.”

“We haven’t ensured that the law is working. If there is a fund that we have to set up, let us set it up because I don’t know which other incentive we are going to put in there apart from what is already there,” he explained.

He said, as always, the provisions in the law lacked the necessary structures that would ensure its smooth take-off, and over six years after the inception of the law, a renewable energy fund, for instance, was yet to be established.

“What we haven’t done well, like always, is that we haven’t put in the necessary structures. The law talks about Renewable Energy Fund. Since 2011, it is not operational. I don’t know which other new mechanisms we are going to bring in,” he said.

He added: “It is a good law so we must ensure that all that we said we would do in the law would be done. Every incentive-based mechanism in the law should be able to work.”

The Renewable Energy Act, 2011 was formulated to provide for the development, management, utilisation, sustainability and adequate supply of renewable energy for generation of heat and power for related matters.

A provision under the act was to see to the setting up of the Renewable Energy Fund, which was expected to provide financial resources for the promotion, development, sustainable management and utilisation of renewable energy sources.