Editorial: Slow uptake of renewables a great source of concern

GIZ validates 20 Action Groups for Sustainable Energy Investments

After several rescheduling of the renewable energy targets for the nation, analysts are again beginning to question the 2030 deadline toward achieving 10 percent of the country’s energy mix with renewables.

Despite aims to boost renewables in the country’s energy mix from 41.5 megawatts in 2015 to 1353.63MW by 2030 with grid-connected systems totalling 1094.63 MW, the lack of private sector participation has been ascribed to the sluggish uptake of renewable energy.

Analysts maintain that to deepen penetration, the private sector must be furnished with the necessary incentives to scale up the use of renewable energy in line with the National Energy Framework.

To achieve net –zero emissions by 2070, greater renewable penetration will be required, particularly for solar and wind, with projections it will contribute 20 percent of the installed electricity generation capacity.

With a paltry 3.1 percent, we must admit we do have some way to go to achieve the stated target. Lest we forget, the 2030 target is just six years away! Lately, power generation has been a topical issue because of the shortfall in generational capacity, which has the tendency to slow industrial growth.

Had serious attention been given to expanding renewable energy as indicated in our energy policy, the country could have adequately managed to have installed capacity to power economic activity. If the initial cost of the components and their installation is expensive, we suggest government can waive the duty of components of solar and wind to make it affordable, or even perhaps give such renewable energy entities tax holidays to recoup their investment.

The implication is even more dire for the investing community who would view government’s attitude toward renewable energy as lacking seriousness, which will lead to underinvestment in the sector.

This is rather unfortunate because the production of electricity and other energy products from renewable energy sources has gained remarkable prominence in the international community; and while we have unlimited solar resources to harness, we are unable to tap into this great resource to spur on the development programmes we have so far outlined.

Global issues such as climate change, poverty, hunger and environmental degradation have led to the implementation of laws and policies requiring renewable energy. In this regard, Ghana should be seen as lagging behind.

Despite the slow progress on the renewables front, we believe that the country should take serious steps to increase the uptake of renewable energy. Furthermore, the Paper is of the view that incentives should be provided to individuals and businesses interested in adopting renewable energy.

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