Renewable energy is key to the development of Ghana’s power sector, Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Volta River Authority (VRA), has stated.
He noted that significant investments and commitment were required to address these challenges to enable the country achieve its ambition of at least 10 per cent of Ghana’s power generation sourced from renewables by the year 2030, thereby contributing towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 (affordable and clean energy) and 13 (climate change).
Mr Antwi-Dankwa said this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the Seventh Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra.
The event, which is on the theme “Removing Barriers to Renewable Energy Development in Ghana” is being organised by the Energy Commission.
“Having developed the first large scale grid connected Solar PV plant, 2.5MW at Navrongo at the time when the full range of regulation was not in place, VRA helped shape RE regulation and seek to continue this path by setting the pace in the development and implementation of Wind Power in Ghana,” Anwti-Darkwa said.
“In maintaining our leadership role in the Power Sector, the VRA has successfully undergone a Financial Recovery program and has transitioned into a Sustainability plan, which has renewable energy and conversion of our simple cycle thermal plants to combined cycle as key elements for driving down our cost and our carbon footprint.”
He noted that the VRA had commissioned a 6.5MW Solar PV Plant at Lawra and was currently commissioning a 13MW plant in Kaleo with an additional 13.8MW to commence in Kaleo by the end of 2021.
He said beyond this, VRA was expected to roll out the following RE projects among others within the next five years.
These include 60MW Hydro and 50MW Solar PV Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam Project, 60MW Solar PV at Bongo, 50MW Floating Solar PV on the Kpong Head Pond and 75MW Wind Power Project Phase-1.
“As the foremost generating company in the country, we are the benchmark and the standard for operating practices in the sector,” he said.
“Having been born from Hydro Generation, we continue our journey with the new renewables in addition to converting our simple cycle thermal plants to combined cycle as a means of reducing our carbon footprints.”
Mr Antwi-Darkwa said renewable energy was a great business venture for the VRA and was in line with the government’s policy to have at least 10 per cent of their power generation sourced from renewables.
He said the current state of the Renewable Energy Sector can be seen as challenged, with bottlenecks ranging from financial, technical, and market fronts. Specific challenges that the key industry players face.
He said these include constrained off-take in the regulated market due to the moratorium on signing new Power Purchase Agreements and difficulty in raising long-term Power Purchase Agreement to support long tenure debt financing of utility scale projects
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Energy Minister, said the Government as part of its efforts in opening up the renewable energy sector for investments, was exploring the regional market and positioning Ghana to become a major exporter of reliable and competitive electricity in the ECOWAS Region.
This, he said, would not only benefit Ghana in terms of foreign exchange earnings, but would also contribute to the regional economic inclusiveness strategy, strengthening energy security and peace in the sub-region.
Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Energy Commission, said the Ghana Renewable Energy Fair, which was now in its seventh year, aims at providing a platform for collaboration between the Government, the private sector and the civil society in the renewable energy industry for the promotion of renewable energy.
Mr Kofi Dzamesi, Chief Executive Officer Bui Power Authority (BPA), in a speech read on his behalf, said the BPA was collaborating with the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) to ensure that Ghana gets its first nuclear power plant.