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Universal Access to Electricity: government pledges to implement 55 mini grids

Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam

In an epoch of clean energy, climate change and climate investing, the government of Ghana says, it would establish 55 solar mini grids within islands and small communities by the end of 2025, after revising its target of 2020.

The project with an average capacity of 100 KW, would be undertaken with funding from the Climate Investment Funds of an amount of $230 million, according to a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Energy, Peter Amewu, at the 5th Mini Grids Action Learning Event in Accra.

The areas of installation would be, Sene East, Krachi East and West, Pru, Nkwanta North and South, Gonja Central, East and West and Krachi Nchumuru districts.

Prior to this announcement, the World Bank says it has financed five pilot solar mini-grids in isolated areas – mostly fishing communities which are hard to reach, these are, Kudorkope, Aglakope, Atigagome, Wayokope and Pediatorkope in the Sene East, Krachi East and West and Ada districts.

“I’ve been told that, if we have to be able to extend electricity to all these communities through the national grid, using underground cables, which is possible, it may cost us up to $4 billion. And this is why other options are being considered. One of the key options is the mini grid technology. The mini grid systems allow us to provide electricity at lower cost, compared with extending electricity to them through the national grid,” deputy Minister for Energy, Mohammed Amin Adam said at a press briefing at the event.

While the mini grid project is primarily government led, Dr. Alfred Ahenkorah, Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission said the private sector, would have to obtain a license to undertake service operations of the technology.

1.2 billion people around the world,  would need to gain access to electricity to archive universal access by 2030, according to a World Bank document published by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme.

The Bank believes the way to achieve this is through a combination of the main grid extension, mini grids and off-grid solar.

In addition, it said 19,000 mini grids have been installed in 134 countries, with Asia having the most number of grid installations, while Africa, has the largest share of planned mini grids.

It further urged countries to mobilize private sector investment by making policies that support comprehensive electrification programmes, promoting viable business models and providing well-designed public funding.

In addition to tackling greenhouse gas emissions, mini grids according to the World Bank have positive environmental impact, as 210,000 of them powered by solar, has potential to help avoid 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions globally.

By Gifty Danso

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