The coronavirus has had and continues to have significant impact on the Ghana Economy since it was first detected in March 2020. The government has since implemented several measures to mitigate the adverse effect, reduce the spread and provide relief for businesses and households.
Following the increase in recorded cases of the virus in Ghana, the government announced a three-week lockdown, closing all schools and restricting all forms of gathering, the orthodox way of working in offices gave way to working from home. GIZ Ghana, through its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector (REEEPublic) project, embarked on an ‘Energy Efficiency Campaign’ to educate the public on diverse ways to effectively use energy especially during the lockdown period.
The campaign provided comprehensive education to electricity consumers on the methods and benefits of energy conservation as a response to the anticipated increase in electricity usage as a lot of users were forced to stay home. The goal was to empower households and SMEs to reduce their energy consumption and costs as much as possible.
Speaking on the idea behind this campaign, the Project Manager for REEEPublic, Benjamin Attigah emphasized that the efficient use of electricity and energy management in our homes results in helping reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, provide human comfort, and ensure environmental quality, among others. He further stated that the prudent and judicious use of electricity will translate in saving the households some cash which could be put into other use.
On the part of a brief introduction of the REEEPublic Project, Mr Attigah, mentioned that the REEEPublic project focuses on five main essential outputs: (I) Advice on the provisions of the recently amended Renewable Energy Act; (II) Improving the regulatory framework for energy efficiency (EE) in buildings; (III) Strengthening the “Government Goes Solar” initiative to promote EE & Renewable energy (RE) in public institutions; (IV) Supporting public institutions at national, regional and district levels in piloting measures to improve EE & RE i.e constructing a modern Nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) for the Energy Commission or retrofitting existing public buildings across the country with rooftop solar PV panels or energy efficiency equipment such as effective ACs (V) Further training on experts for EE and RE.
During this Energy Efficiency Campaign, GIZ developed short animation videos in local languages (Twi, Ga, Ewe, Hausa, English) that demonstrated how to prudently use home/household appliances. Radio jingles were also produced in same local languages and were played at periodic times on different FM stations to educate the public.
There were also several live interviews on radio and television conducted with experts from the Ministry of Energy, Energy Commission and Energy Foundation. This mechanism enjoyed greater milage as a significant number of the population were reached.
During the Energy Efficiency Campaign, 186 radio spot adverts in the Greater Accra Region were placed, reaching over 2.7 million listeners and 123 radio spot adverts in the Ashanti Region were also placed reaching over 3.5 million listeners. Additionally, the campaign flighted 29 commercials on national television reaching approximately 16.5 million viewers.
Social media was also deployed in reaching out to the teaming youth and urban communities. Flyers and broachers were designed and circulated through social media ie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as YouTube and several online portals.
The Ministry of Energy, Energy Commission and Energy Foundation were very instrumental not only in helping in the sharing of these flyers on their official websites and social media handles but also in granting interviews and providing every needed support during the campaign. GRIDCo, Bui Power Authority, ECG, VRA and AGI also published the designed flyers on their websites and Facebook pages as well.
In a related story, it may be recalled that this is not the first time GIZ Ghana has initiated Energy Efficiency campaign aimed at helping household and SMEs reduce their energy consumption. GIZ’s preceding Energy Project in 2018 also successfully trained and certified 280 Energy Efficiency Advisors who were mainly students (comprising 43% females) from Universities and Polytechnics in Accra, Kumasi, and Koforidua. Additionally, a total of 16,135 beneficiaries (8,493 households and 7,642 SMEs) were introduced to household energy efficiency best practices and energy audit.
To complement the communication effort of educating households and SMEs on energy conservation methods and benefits, a total of 7,000 plug-in automatic timer switches (including 1,000 from the Energy Commission in support of the project) were given out to households and SMEs to help reduce their electricity consumption within selected communities in the three beneficiary cities (Accra, Kumasi and Koforidua).
The project recorded a high level of success with substantial impact on the energy expenditure of the beneficiaries, because of their compliance to the energy conservation measures. Out of 3,519 beneficiaries (1,535 households and 1,984 SMEs) assessed, 87% of them implemented the energy efficiency measures proposed under the project and about 33% of these compliant beneficiaries reported 16% – 20% reduction in their electricity consumption within two to three months of the intervention.
These initiatives demonstrate GIZ’s resolve to support the Government of Ghana’s goal of stabilizing the energy situation with sustainable solutions whilst working towards the achievement of SDG-7 of the 2030 Agenda.
>>>The writer is a Technical Advisor for Renewable Energy at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Ghana.