UNDP urges Ghana to tap into renewable energy opportunities
The United Nations Development Programme Country (UNDP) Representative in Ghana, Angela Lusigi has urged Ghana to continue to tap into its opportunities in renewable energy to improve energy access for its people.
She stated that the acquisition of a substantial part of the country's energy requirements from renewable energy would also enable Ghana to contribute its quota towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to climate change.
"Indeed there are tremendous opportunities to grow renewable energy in Ghana and definitely what I have seen on the ground shows that there is a diversity of options", Dr Lusigi stated.
She was speaking to the press after touring facilities at the Bui Power Generation Station at Bui in the Bono Region.
One of the facilities at the station that impressed Dr Lusigi was the installation of solar panels for the generation of power to support the current 400 megawatts obtained from hydro by the Bui Power Authority (BPA).
The BPA currently also has an installed capacity 50 megawatts power from solar while the development of another 100 megawatts is ongoing.
The ultimate aim for the authority is to have 250-megawatt installed capacity of power from solar within the Bui Enclave by June 2023.
Ghana's Renewable Energy Masterplan (2019) aims at increasing the penetration of renewable energy in the national power mix from 45 MW in 2015 to 1.4 GW in 2030.
In May 2019, Ghana postponed its target of 10 per cent renewables in the power mix, included in the Renewable Energy Act of 2011, by 10 years to 2030.
On whether Ghana was on the right path to meet to meet its energy mix per the standard of the SDG, Dr Lusigi said Ghana had an ambitious plan adding that "l believe Ghana is definitely on the right path".
She stated that already the UNDP had worked together with BPA in the development of a mini grid at Tsatsadu in the Volta Region.
That, Dr Lusigi said was an excellent opportunity to explore ongoing collaboration with more partners to ensure that Ghana achieved its development objectives.
For his part, the Director, Renewables of BPA, Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo said the UNDP was a good partner which facilitated the construction of the Tsatsadu mini hydropower plant.
He added that BPA was committed to the realisation of the UN SDGs and was therefore looking forward to further collaboration with the UNDP to enable the country achieve its climate change mitigating targets.
Mr Ahiataku-Togobo added that the BPA had initiated feasibility studies to take advantage of rivers in the Western Region such as Tano and Ankobra to generate more power for the country.
He said the hydro-solar hybrid system being practiced by the BPA was the surest way for the country to meet its energy needs.
Mr Ahiataku-Togobo said currently the authority had one megawatt floating solar panels while work on the construction of additional four megawatts would be completed by December 2022.
Dr Lusigi also visited the BPA tree plantation project under its Forest Resource Enhancement Programme (FREP) where a total of 1,400 acres of various indigenous tree species had been planted.
Briefing Dr Lusigi about the project, the Deputy Director of Health, Safety and Environment of BPA, Mr Chrisentus Kuunifaa said the project had been done from resources from the authority and called for assistance from UNDP for the expansion of the project.
He, therefore called for a collaboration with the UNDP to finance the project in order to multiply acres of tree species that the authority was able to plant annually.