‘Electricity for All’ by 2030 worrying – Fiifi Kwetey
Adnan Adams Mohammed
Former Deputy Finance and Agriculture Minister under erstwhile John Mahama administration, Fifi Kwetey is worried with the decision of the government to extend universal electricity access to all Ghanaians from 2020 to 2030.
The government announced its plans to provide universal access to electricity by 2030 as it intends to use solar energy to bridge the 15 per cent gap in the provision of electricity across the country. The Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu, announced this in Accra, last week, in a speech, read on his behalf at a validation workshop on the findings of off-grid solar market assessment in the country.
The government has indicated that, rural and peri-urban Ghana were the targets for the electrification programme. Already, Ghana had been selected among 19 African countries in West Africa and the Sahel to benefit from a US$265-million facility to increase access to electricity by rural folks. The project will kick-start simultaneously in beneficiary countries from January 2020.
“We handed over to them a country that has seen an increase in electricity coverage from 52 percent to 83 percent and in just 4 years, they have been able to only increase electricity coverage by 0.5 percent, not even 1 percent, whereas we [NDC] were on the cause of providing universal coverage by the end of 2020”, the legislator registered his worry during his presentation at a forum organized by the NDC on the 2020 budget.
“They have come into office today and they had to push the universal electricity coverage to 2030 because they are moving at such a slow pace and there’s no way they will be able to extend electricity coverage like the way we [NDC] were doing,” he remarked.
The MP for Ketu South Constituency again indicated that the John Mahama led government had left behind water coverage that moved from a rate of 57 percent to 76 percent yet they [NPP] claim the NDC left an economic mess.
Consequently, the assessment of the off-grid solar market was conducted in the beneficiary countries to identify the major supply and demand-side barriers to the establishment of a sustainable market which was to validate stakeholders from the public and private energy sector.
Monitoring and evaluation expert, Mr Collins Osae, said the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) had, since 2017, been pursuing an agenda of facilitating the implementation of concrete on-the-ground projects, of which the Regional OffGrid Electrification Project (ROGEP) was part.
ROGEP covers 15 ECOWAS-member states and four other non-ECOWAS countries, including Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic and Mauritania.
Its development objective was to increase electricity access to households and businesses, using modern stand-alone solar systems through a harmonised regional approach.
The financiers of the project are the World Bank, the Clean Technology Fund and the Directorate General for International Cooperation of the government of The Netherlands, which is providing $265 million for the initiative.
The ECREEE is the technical implementation partner, while the West African Development Bank is the financial implementing partner.
According to promoters of the project, the ECREEE Secretariat, on the basis of the market study, would build the capacity of off-grid (stand-alone) solar businesses and also support an awareness campaign to remove barriers and help create an ecosystem to develop a regional market of solar products.
The ECREEE was established in 2010 in response to the energy poverty crisis faced by the West African sub-region and the need to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The establishment of ECREEE was a strategic decision by West African leaders, under the auspices of the ECOWAS Commission, to strive to reduce the daunting energy deficit and promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region.
The ECREEE has helped to develop region-wide policies related to clean energy and energy efficiency, as well as facilitate awareness, investment and business promotion, while assisting with capacity-building of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region.