The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has pledged to give a great deal of attention to the renewable energy sector if the party wins the upcoming general election on December 7, as renewables have been well documented as the future of energy.
To underscore its commitment to renewables, a former Deputy Minister of Power, John Jinapor, said one of the first things an NDC government would do is to establish a Renewable Energy Authority to push the nation’s renewable agenda.
Speaking at the maiden Energy Manifesto Dialogue Series organised by the Institute of Energy Security (IES), Mr. Jinapor, said: “Today the world is moving towards renewables and for the first time since the year 2019, renewable energy seem to have increased compared to thermal energy. All companies, if you read the BP report, US Energy Information report and all the others say that companies believe renewable is the future and they are moving there.”
He noted that as a result the next NDC government would position renewables to attract the necessary investor investments. “Ghana cannot be left behind so we want to have a Renewable Authority that would focus specifically on increasing renewables. We would also invest massively in the renewable sub sector.
When we were in power the target was to have a 10 percent renewable penetration by the year 2020, when the NPP assumed office they pushed it to 2030. We were one of the first countries to install a 20 megawatts solar farm with BXC in the Central Region. We did a 2.5 megawatts in Navrongo, we were working on the Kalio one and we encouraged and supported Bui Power Authority to scale up renewables up to about 50 megawatts and so our track record speaks for itself when it comes to the renewable sector.”
The NDC has also promised to prioritise the building of local capacity in the energy sector when they hopefully assume office after the general election. According to the NDC, there are great opportunities in the energy sector that locals, especially the teeming unemployed youth can benefit from but low skills attainment has been identified as a major stumbling block.
Mr. Jinapor said the NDC would establish a school to train individuals and organizations to obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to do electrical and electronic jobs competently. The move is to allow individuals and organizations to perform at a greater capacity in the energy sector, from solving household electrical defects to the rig electrical operations.
“We would also want to partner with local companies to establish Ghanaian firms that would initially assemble solar panels and accessories with the ultimate aim of producing similar or same products in Ghana. We have a programme that we want to execute and we would leverage the Energy Sector Levies that we passed in order to deal with some of these issues when it comes to renewables,” Mr. Jinapor noted.
He also indicated that a future NDC government has plans to bring together all the thermal plants available in the country and set up a company to have oversight.
The Director of Research of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Paul Agyeman Bio mentioned that, a future PPP government would inculcate private sector principles in managing the energy sector as it has been identified to be more effective.
According to him, the short stint of the Power Distribution Service (PDS) is ample evidence that when private sector principles are indoctrinated into public sector management, there is a high efficiency. For Mr. Bio, the PPP would ensure non-political interference in the non-policy aspects of the management of the power sector.
One of the key energy brains in the Conventions People’s Party (CPP), Kwame Jantuah, also said a future CPP government will build mini hydro plants within districts to provide cheap, reliable and accessible power across the country. The CPP government would also make the use of solar compulsory in high rise buildings and provide incentives to already existing buildings to move onto solar.
Nana Amoasi VII, Executive Director of the IES, in his welcome address noted that currently, substantial amount of global capital is being directed at renewable energy projects, away from the traditional sources known as fossil fuels. The shift, he pointed out, follows the unprecedented political and business momentum renewable energy is currently enjoying, with the number of policies and projects around the world expanding rapidly.
The big oil companies are transforming themselves into energy firms, with wind and solar taking an increasingly important role in their current strategies, to hedge against hardening investor sentiment towards carbon emissions. They are ‘progressively positioning themselves for the proclaimed energy transition’ – essentially attempting to figure out how the best presently available cash cow in the world can be substituted for the benefit of their own sustainable future,” he said.
He added that the transition to renewables is a global one because they have been found as cost-effective, and sustainable source of new energy that insulates power markets and consumers from volatility, spurs economic stability, and stimulates sustainable growth.
Policy makers, he noted, must therefore recognize the degree to which the energy transition can deliver positive outcomes for the country. “They must demonstrate that they are aware of the risks and opportunities that come with renewables, and rather take steps to manage the situation.”