For the country to successfully transition from poor cooking energy systems to more clean methods, there is the need for policy directions to encourage the use of electricity which experts have said is relatively cheaper.
This, Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo, Project Lead of the Modern Energy Cooking Services at the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), has said is necessary to guide the country, as well as clear misconceptions that, cooking with electricity is an expensive option.
According to him, a study his team conducted revealed that, even though most people use some electrical appliances in their cooking processes, majority hold the view that it is expensive to cook with electricity.
“In Ghana, we don’t have the policy that touches on cooking with electricity. We need measures that will help so that people can actually begin to understand that going through the pathway of using electricity to cook is not expensive, but because they do not have the empirical evidence, they always think it is expensive.
Because we are talking about Ghana transitioning to green energy usage or transitioning to the use of less polluting sources, we need to be thinking about the ways and means of how people can afford such appliances, for instance, the electric pressure cookers in order to actually begin to cook with,” he said.
Dr. Bawakyillenuo made these remarks on the sidelines of the dissemination workshop of the Household and Market Baseline survey on energy for cooking appliances on the market in Ghana.
The transition to electronic cooking methods, he added, will enable Ghana meet the SDG goals on health, and clean energy sources, as well as reduce the burden on the use of biomass.
“We focus more on electricity and if it is generated from a clean source, what we will be doing is that we’ll be meeting the SDG Goal 3 which is on health, and SDG Goal 7 which is on clean energy sources, and the one on climate change, because the country is also focused on, or is being encouraged to actually cut down on carbon dioxide emission.
Our biggest challenge is, if we continue to use more biomass in our cooking, it means that we are reducing the ability of the forest to actually capture the carbon, and so we are reducing our carbon sink. Once we are able to focus a bit more on the use of electricity, you realise that households will not actually place more burden on the forest stock, especially the cutting of trees for charcoal and what have you,” he added.
The workshop sought to announce the results of the survey they undertook in the phase one of the project, and to share plans and expectations in the second phase yet to be undertaken.
The phase one sought to understand and build local knowledge on the dynamics of cooking behaviours and cooking energy services amongst various stakeholders in the country. The phase two, which is sponsored by the World Bank, will highlight what is known empirically about cooking with electricity, the existing gaps and the opportunities that must be seized.
With regards to challenges, Dr. Bawakyillenuo mentioned that there is the issue of standards and affordability.
As a means of cutting down cost of appliances, he pushed for the local manufacture or assembly of some of these cooking appliances.
Another solution, he said, is for government to check electricity tariffs to ensure that citizens adopt the use of the appliances in the cooking.
He also called on the Ghana Standards Authority, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and other authorities to ensure that only appliances that are energy efficient get into the country.
“It is important that we do it because if it is in the transition plan, then, critical strategies are needed and those strategies including having efficient electric cookers. When you are efficient, you do not consume much electricity. It is only when you have inefficient ones that you will have the challenge.
At the same time, it may also be very important for the various tariffs to be looked at; how people will actually consume electricity with their appliances for their cooking needs, but will not really feel the pinch. So it is about the determination to really help make sure that we provide the necessary conditions,” he noted.