GYEM pushes for review of Ghana's Renewable Energy Act

BY: Salomey Appiah-Adjei

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM), an environment advocacy group, has called for the review and enforcement of Ghana’s Renewable Energy Act 832 (2011) so as to help promote and develop the sector.

According to the group, while key provisions in the Act needed to be implemented and enforced, some regulatory aspects of the Act should be reviewed to make the sector attractive for investors.

As part of its advocacy, GYEM has organised a workshop dubbed “Addressing the legislative and regulatory constraints of the renewable Energy Act 832 (2011)”, in Accra.

The Act

The Renewable Energy Act was passed to facilitate the achievement of the goal set for renewable energy in the National Energy Policy to account for 10 per cent of total energy generation in the country by 2020.

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But currently, renewable energy contributed about one per cent to the national power generation.

The Act provided the legal basis for fiscal incentives and regulatory framework to attract investment towards the development, utilization and efficient management of renewable energy resources in the country.

The constraints

However, the Coordinator of the GYEM, Ms Sandra Cobblah in her address at the workshop said the group’s research conducted into the Act showed that key provisions in the document had not being implemented.

She mentioned the mandatory Renewable Energy Authority which needed to be established to oversee the implementation of renewable energy projects and activities in the country.

Secondly, she said the Act made provision for the establishment of a Renewable Energy Fund for the development; promotion and utilization of renewable energy resources, but that had not been implemented.

Thirdly, Ms Cobblah said the Renewable Energy Purchase Obligation (RPO) which obliged all electricity distribution utilities and bulk consumers to purchase a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources had also not being done yet.

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC), she said was yet to define and establish the percentage which was provided in the Act.

“In addition to this, a Renewable Energy Master Plan that will set clear targets for the various renewable technologies and the strategies to achieve them is currently not developed and functional”, she noted.

Aside the lack of enforcement of the Act, Ms Cobblah said the research also showed that there some challenges with license acquisition for renewable projects and cumbersome licensing procedures.

“For a renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) to enter into the market, it has to interact with a host of regulators in the industry to facilitate license approvals, clearances and incentives where necessary,” she noted.

That, she said could easily discourage potential investors and renewable energy project developers from doing business.

She further mentioned the lack of adequate tax rebates and incentives in the industry, general lack of awareness of renewable energy technologies, and lack of research and development as some of the challenges in the sector.

The advocacy

Earlier in his welcome address, a researcher with the GYEM, Mr Godwin Apenu explained that the advocacy by the group formed part of a one –year advocacy action to review and enforce Ghana’s Renewable Energy Act 832 (2011).

He said the project seeks to address the legislative and regulatory constraints in the Act in favor of renewable energy businesses, while initiating a national advocacy action to promote the development of the renewable energy industry in Ghana.

The project is supported by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), United State Agency for International Development (USAID), and the European Union (EU).