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Don’t rush from fossil to renewable energy - Prof. Iledare

BY: Edith Mensah
 Professor Omowumi Iledare addressing the participants
Professor Omowumi Iledare addressing the participants

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Professorial Chair in Oil and Gas at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Professor Omowumi Iledare, has admonished relevant energy stakeholders not to rush transitioning from fossil-based energy to renewables.

Rather, he urged stakeholders to consider putting in place the necessary structures before transitioning from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption to renewable energy sources.

He said it was critical for the country to map out strategies to ensure energy security, sustainability, and equity before it transitioned to avoid the country's energy industry being impacted negatively.

Prof. Iledare was speaking at the seventh Oil and Gas Public Lecture Series and awards ceremony organised by the Institute for Oil and Gas Studies.

The ceremony, dubbed: "The Dawn of Global Energy Systems Transformation: Strategic Thinking and Transitioning Options", was organised by the Institute of Oil and Gas Management of the UCC, in partnership with the GNPC.

It recognised eight post-graduate students who obtained certificates of completion for an academic enrichment programme, as well as other oil and gas sector professionals.

Prof. Iledare emphasised that the transition to renewable sources of energy should be a gradual process and not one dictated by external powers who had no knowledge of the country's energy consumption rate or available resources.

"Africa only accounts for three per cent of global emissions; therefore, we shouldn't rush to switch from fossil fuels to renewables, which will require additional resources and technology that we don't yet have," he stated.

The GNPC Oil and Gas Chair added that "what we can do now is strategise and put in place all the necessary systems to ensure the security of future generations before we consider this transition".

Revitalisation

Prof. Iledare said the current discussion on transitioning from fossil fuel-based energy production systems was real, but that it needed to be thought through and tailored to suit the local context without having to abandon local energy production methods.

"The current conversation is real, but it must be looked at from the local context," he said.

Prof. Iledare urged the government to revive the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) so that it could resume its original function, stressing that it was one of the most important decisions to take to secure energy security.

He added that it should be done for the country's energy security, not for political expediency.

"Rejuvenate TOR, not for political reasons, but for energy security in the country,” he stated.

Innovation

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GNPC, Dr Kofi Koduah, urged the institution to embrace creative teaching methods to match the energy sector's current expectations.

He said it was critical that the institution considered the practical aspects of student training in order to prepare them for the real world.

“I will encourage you to reflect what the industry is looking for and also meet growing trends," Dr Koduah stated.

He also said the GNPC would assist the institution in every way possible, including supplying up-to-date research materials and centres to develop students’ capacity in critical thinking and make them market-ready.

New programmes

The Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas Management, Prof. Simon Mariwah, said the institute had been given approval to run new post-graduate programmes such as PhD Petroleum and Energy Studies, Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Petroleum and Energy Studies, and Master of Science (MSc) Petroleum and Energy Studies to help bridge the gap of conflict in the petroleum sector.

He emphasised that the programmes had been uniquely industry-sponsored and endorsed by players in the petroleum and energy sector in order to meet the country's academic, industrial, managerial and analytical requirements.

"The aim of these new programmes is to equip individuals and professionals with strong research and skillset for knowledge transfer and applied research with respect to petroleum and energy sector issues and business strategy," he stressed.