Lagos—West African nation, Ghana, is making adequate plans and implementing policies and programmes to further grow its power sector to achieve 100 per cent universal energy access and probably export to her “big brother” nation, Nigeria.
According to the ThisDay newspaper, the Head of Generation and Transmission Unit, Ministry of Energy, Ghana, Mr. Hanson Monney, stated this in Lagos, yesterday, while presenting the overview, progress and challenges of his countries’ power sector at the 2nd Day of the Nigeria Energy Leadership Summit.
Monney, said Ghana has through a robust policy formulation and implementation achieved between 80 to 85 per cent universal energy access in the country.
The Ghana official spoke a day after Nigeria, the giant of Africa and largest oil producer in the continent suffered her second national electricity grid collapse that plunged homes and businesses in total blackout.
With over 200 million population, Nigeria rarely boast of 5000 megawatts (mw) of power successfully generated, transmitted and distributed since the advent of grid electricity in the country till date.
Despite the unbundling and privatisation of the power sector in Nigeria, not much improvement has been achieved thus leaving the majority of the citizens to resort to dangerous alternative energy sources.
However, in Ghana, according to Monney, the government was exploring all options including grid energy, mini-grid and the solar-dominated renewable energy to achieve the country’s “Universal access to energy by 2024 and the president has charged that.”
“So, we are working on all these things to make sure that the power system of Ghana continues to be as good as it is or even better, and then, maybe, we can be exporting more to our big brothers in Nigeria when the grid is finally settles.
“So, ladies and gentlemen, this is an overview of the Ghana power system and challenges.”
He noted that achieving universal access to energy in Ghana, which implies getting the generated power to the lastmile was the most difficult part of the business because most of the communities were either island community, riverside or lakeside community which makes it difficult extending the grid.
To address the challenge, the official said, “So, now, we are trying to scale our renewable energy access and that is how we have planned in 2022 to scale up our renewable energy programme.”
He added that the biggest challenge in the country’s power sector had to do with financial sustainability, explaining, “There is so much debts that government has to shore up to make sure that the system is afloat because we have procured a lot excess capacity, that is coming with the attendant costs.
“So, these financial challenges require some policy actions to eliminate legacy debts.”
The Ghana power official also pointed out that high electricity tariff was also a major issue plaguing the power sector in the country, wondering the usefulness of electricity without affordability, especially for industries.
“We saw that in Ghana historically. The industries have been subsidising the residentials and it should be the other way. Industries should keep afloat so that business can go on.
“So, we are trying to do tariff rationalisation where we move the block tariff that we have because in Ghana, the more you consume, the more you pay.
“It shouldn’t be that way. The more you consume, I think you should rather be given some rebate. So, that tariff rationalisation process is ongoing”, he said.
He equally mentioned that another problem facing the Ghana power sector was gas supply security, thanking Nigeria for always supporting the country in the area of gas supply.
“Most of our gas is in the West. We get the east gas from Nigeria. Our big brothers are always sending some gas to support us and we thank Nigeria for that.
“But that is not enough, as we grow, we need to have more fuel supply security. Now, there is an 80-day shutdown of our gas.
“There is no gas in Ghana now. So, fuel supply security is really affecting the sector,” Monney explained.
But in all the challenges facing the country’s power sector, Hanson said the government has been taking the necessary actions to address the issues and further grow the electricity sector in the West African state.
“And what we are saying is that Ghana has adopted a holistic approach in the formulation of policies and plans.
“We don’t leave one person to plan. We are doing it together -regulators, private sector and all that.
“So, we have something we call the Integrated Power Sector Master Plan to consolidate all the plans that we have over a long-term. So, this is what Ghana is doing or has been doing to keep our light on”, he added.