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ECOWAS energy experts build capacity in web-based system

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
ECOWAS energy experts build capacity in web-based system
ECOWAS energy experts build capacity in web-based system

Energy experts from member states of ECOWAS have converged on Accra to build capacity towards the operationalisation of a web-based energy database and information system for the subregion.

The three-day workshop, which began in Accra yesterday and is being held in-person and virtually, will also train participants on how to complete a common data collection questionnaire and also use the platform to validate the statistics of member countries between 2010 and 2019.

When it becomes operational, the system, which started in 2019, will enable the provision of updated data and information on member countries, which will eventually be consolidated at the regional level.

The information will cover consumption, production, supply, energy sources and flows and the control of the energy situation in West Africa, among others.

Significance

The Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Chief Director of the ministry, Lawrence Apaalse, said theECOWAS energy information system was a one-stop shop for energy statistics for the sub-region.

He said as of 2020, Ghana’s per capita consumption of electricity was about 485 kilowatts per hour, representing a 45 per cent increment over the 2010 policy
document figures.

Within the same period, he said, the national electricity access rate increased from 75 to 86.63 per cent.

Currently, he said, the country’s total installed capacity was 5,288 megawatts, mainly gas-fired, with a peak demand of about 3,090MW.

He said although the demand for gas for power generation had grown significantly over the years, the ministry was working towards increasing gas utilisation, especially in the non-power industrial sectors such as steel, cement, aluminium, industrial heating, among others.

The move, the minister explained, was to lower the cost of doing business and also make judicious use of the nation’s natural resources.

He further said the national energy policy was being revised to ensure that it became self-sufficient in sustainable energy and for export, while a gas master plan (GMP)
was also being revised.

Challenges

The ECOWAS Commissioner of Energy and Mines, Sediko Douka, said the sub-region was facing major energy challenges, even though it was endowed with huge resources.

The rate of household access to electricity in the ECOWAS region, he said, was about 54 per cent in 2019, while the average electricity consumption per capita was about 258KW hour per year, the lowest in the world.

The commissioner commended Ghana for having the highest access to energy in the region, which he said should be replicated by other member countries. 

To address the regional disparity in energy access, Mr Douka said the commission had decided to make sustainable and affordable energy for all a fundamental priority of the community.

He said that would systematically reduce the energy gap through the interconnection of electricity networks, the development of regional power generation facilities, reduction of energy supply costs through common exploitation of natural resources in the region, particularly gas, and the development of renewable energy for a diversified energy mix.

And to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy, he said, ECOWAS had established an institutional governance mechanism, comprising the directorate of energy and mines and specialised agencies or institutions which worked in synergy for the implementation of its mandate in the energy sector, particularly improvement of regional energy governance.