Draft policy on Electric Vehicles in the works – Energy Minister

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Mathew Opoku Prempeh.

Work has begun in earnest on a draft policy document aimed at providing the framework to guide the mass adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the country, with the presentation to be ready by the end of the year, Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has said.

The draft policy, which would have input from key stakeholders such as the Energy Commission, and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), amongst others, is expected to offer guidance on a number of areas including impact on the national grid, billing regime, possible government subsidies, provision and standardization of ancillary systems as well as public sensitization.

The move comes off the back of recent developments such as the introduction of EVs like the Hyundai Kona, which was recently presented to the Ministry of Energy, as well as the growing number of persons importing such vehicles.

“As we look towards the mass adoption of electric vehicles, we would have to conduct a study on its impact on the national grid, and not only the load on the national grid but other factors like where the cars would be recharged… we have our agencies looking into the technical regulations before the adoption and I have asked them to let us have a draft policy by the end of the year so that we can re-examine it and present it before cabinet for approval,” the Minister said in an interview with the B&FT.

Despite the urgency with which the Ministry is working on this project, he would not offer a tentative timeline for wide-scale adoption of EVs, saying that it would be premature to do so whilst the draft policy has yet to see the light of day.

The average EV’s base manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) fell by more than 19 percent from US$42,189 in 2016 to US$33,901, according to a study titled ‘The Electric Vehicle Inflection Tracker: 2020 Edition’.

This has been propelled, in no small part, due to the widespread adoption of EVs, particularly in Europe, with a country such as Norway having almost 50% of all cars powered by renewable energy, whilst others like the United Kingdom have set dates as early as 2025 to phase out vehicles utilizing fossil fuels.

Addressing concerns that the global push towards environment-friendly vehicles, especially electric cars would have an adverse effect on the finances of nation’s which are largely dependent on receipts from the export of fossil fuels, Ghana included, Dr. Opoku Prempeh indicated that the state is working to have a balance that takes environmental pollution, economic trade-offs and potential gains from health, into consideration.

“We saw the President reiterate our commitment to having an energy mix with a minimum of 10 percent of renewable energy by 2030, as we are well aware of the benefits of cleaner energy sources… this will be done taking into consideration how it impacts other aspects of our economy and we will plan and act accordingly.”

Calling for circumspection in the speed at which EVs and similar technologies are adopted, Dr. Opoku Prempeh said existing technical and financial constraints must be factored in. He however expressed optimism that international collaborations will accelerate the shift.

“In the spirit of ensuring that the environment becomes a safer place, environmentally, nations with more advanced technology must be willing to share, even as we develop ours locally, so that no one is left behind.”

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