Amidst the increasing global discussions and preparations toward energy transition, it is imperative for government to be dispassionate and realistic about the subject matter in order to develop decisive and appropriate policies that will propel the country into the new dawn.
Some industry watchers have described government’s attitude towards energy transition as lukewarm. According to them, government’s posture has the propensity to plunge the country into energy crises if the country fails to match up with unescapable revolution.
This came up during an energy transition sensitization workshop held in Kumasi for journalists and civil society activists in the northern sector of the country. The workshop was jointly organised by think tanks-Natural Resource Governance Institute and Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP).
“Government has been too emotional about the issue. It must accept that energy transition is a reality and it must not play the ostrich with the issue. Government’s claim that energy transition is a western agenda cannot be true. It is real that automobile companies are shifting away from fossil fuel powered vehicles to electric cars, and as we find ourselves in a global village we’ll be affected by these developments,” Dennis Gyeyir, Africa programme Officer, Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), observed.
He urged government to institute the necessary plans to respond appropriately to the phenomenon by leveraging the opportunities that comes with it as well as evaluating the associated risks to inform how best to mitigate them.
“We shouldn’t sit unconcerned for developed countries to come up with energy transition solutions to sell to us; this time round, we should be prepared to develop local solutions. Government must move from the skewed realities and begin to institute plans such as utilization of critical minerals like iron ore and lithium at our disposal for the production of solar panels and batteries, provide incentives for renewable energy technology and research,” he added.
On his part, David Manley, Senior Economic Analyst-NRGI pointed out that the current energy transition is both policy-induced and driven by the rapidly falling costs of wind and solar and therefore makes economic sense for many countries to embrace it, not just for climate sense.
“Transition risk the potential for energy transitions in major oil and gas consuming economies to permanently reduce demand for oil and gas exports in your country. If realised, this would lead to: falling government revenues, poor returns on capital invested in National Oil Companies (NOCs), unemployment, stranded gas for domestic uses,” he said
The Executive Director of ACEP, Benjamin Boakye, noted that the link between the country’s oil production and investment in energy transition is nonexistent, while policies on renewable and petroleum are on different trajectories, indicating that the friction generates apathy towards energy transition.
He also stated that the current national energy policy does not regard energy transition as a potential challenge or threat to upstream oil and gas development.
Mr. Boakye, therefore, entreated the government to resolve the policy gap in linking upstream oil and gas development with the energy transition, promote shared understanding among institutions on the risks and opportunities that come with the transition including the production of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
He further advocated the development of a comprehensive action plan that remedies the systemic inefficiencies in policy implementation.