ECOWAS launches projects to address renewable energy crisis in West Africa

The Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) has launched three projects to better address the renewable energy crisis in the sub-region.

The projects, which were funded by the European Union included the ECREEE Regional project on Energy Efficiency (Supporting Energy Efficiency Access in West Africa), the ECOWAS Regional Energy Policy under the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme and the Regional Assessment for wind and solar Energy project.

The projects were to build the institutional capacity of ECREEE in the field of energy efficiency in the region.

Mr Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director of ECREEE, launched the projects, at the opening of a three-day ECREEE workshop on the theme: “Accelerating  Universal Energy Access in West Africa through the use of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency,” in Accra on Monday.

He expressed the hope that this would support institutional, technical issues in order to bring the energy efficiency challenges in the forefront of economic growth to bear.

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Deputy Minister of Energy, has said the government’s policy was to increase renewable energy in the supply mix using solar and wind mini-hydro.

He said government would encourage the production and use of bio-fuel as alternate to fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse effects but not at the expense of arable lands that could be used for agriculture purposes.

Alhaji Fuseini said Ghana’s energy system has experienced rapid increase in the utilization of modern energy forms such as electricity and petroleum products but their contributions to the total energy mix were still low.

He said the country has recorded great success in the extension of electricity to rural communities using the Grid Renewable Energy mainly the Solar Photovoltaic, through a National Electricity Scheme (NES).

The NES was instituted in 1989 as government’s principal instrument to achieve its policy of extending the reach of electricity to all parts of the country over a thirty- year period from 1990 to 2020.

The Deputy Minister said as part of the programme, a comprehensive National Electricity Master Plan was developed where all possible options of electrification included grid extension and off-grid renewable energy-based solution were identified and prioritized.

He said up to date, $696.9 million has been spent on the electrification of 3,421 rural communities in the country and that the funding of these projects came from bilateral, multilateral partners and the Government of Ghana, with the government of Ghana contributing $339.22 million.

“In pursuance of Government’s plans to accelerate the programme for universal access to electricity, currently $966.55 million from partners and the country has been committed to on-going electricity projects in about 4,880 communities nationwide,” Alhaji Fuseini said.

He noted that upon completion of these projects, 8,301 urban and rural communities would have had access to electricity and the national electricity access would exceed 80 per cent.

Source: GNA

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