A civil society organisation, the Institute for Energy Security, (IES) has urged the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to go beyond the rhetoric and show real political will and commitment towards attaining a target beyond the 10 per cent of renewable energy in the future energy mix.
The IES made the observation after it conducted a comparative analysis of the manifestos of the NPP and the NDC to ascertain which of the two parties had superior policies in the area of renewables.
It said although Ghana was blessed with renewable energy resource potential, particularly biomass, solar and wind, and to a lesser extent small and mini-hydropower, the bulk of those potential remained largely untapped.
The NDC promises to deliver a golden age of renewables surpassing the 10 per cent of the energy mix specified in the Renewal Energy Act.
According to the IES, the NDC outlined eight ways to surpass the 10 per cent target and posited that it would establish a Renewable Energy Commission, to give focus on a campaign for renewables; accelerate the development of grid-connected solar, wind and biomass plants and encouraging the use of Roof-Top Solar by artisans and small businesses.
Also, it said the NDC manifesto further revealed that the party would require that all new government buildings incorporate solar systems in their designs, cost and implementation; and retrofit existing government buildings with solar systems.
“These they hope to achieve by providing incentives for investment in the manufacture of solar panels and accessories in Ghana, including removal of import duties on solar equipment and accessories; encourage private businesses and public institutions to use solar power and promoting the teaching of courses in renewable energy in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions,” IES stated.
On the other hand, it said the NPP promised in its manifesto to implement measures to reduce significantly the cost of power and to make it the most competitive in West Africa for industrial use.
The IES noted the NPP’s resolve to review and restructure the energy-mix to generate cheaper sources for industries, including gas and renewable energy. Furthermore, the NPP will increase proportion of renewable energy in the national generation mix.
The IES said in carrying out a comparative analysis of the two manifestos, it came to light that both parties acknowledged the importance of renewable energy in the energy mix.
It said although the NDC proposal to establish the Renewable Energy Commission (REC) to focus on advocacy for renewables, which it described as welcoming especially when one considered the low level of penetration of renewable energy in the energy mix, it pointed out that an establishment of the REC should not be limited to advocacy but regulatory purposes having regard to the licensing and regulatory regimes of power in the country.
“Focusing on REC’s mandate beyond advocacy will aid investors to readily acquire the needed licenses to establish, expand and improve renewable energy plants. The promise to establish the commission is commendable because it will give renewable energy the needed traction and attention as an emerging reliable and cheapest source of power.”
With regard to the NPP, the IES said the party was silent on how they would increase proportions of renewable energy in the national generation mix.
“The manifesto failed to outline concrete steps to lift the moratorium or suggest concrete measures it would undertake to increase renewable energy in the energy mix. The NPP’s manifesto can best be described as a manifesto that intends to maintain the status quo due to inadequate policy prescriptions in the short term,” it added.