The Institute of Energy Security (IES) has appealed to government to reassess its decision to put a freeze on discussions and the issuance of licences to new independent power producers (IPPs), including renewables that are cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
According to the IES, a revision of the decision was necessary because it had stalled many renewable power projects, some of which had secured all the technical permits from the relevant government and district agencies.
President Akufo-Addo promised to ensure 100 per cent electricity coverage in Ghana by the end of his second term during his swearing-in ceremony recently.
A statement issued by the IES noted that “Though the IES is pleased with government’s renewed resolve to act on this mandate, it remains cautious in hope as recent history does not instill confidence. The IES as a result entreats the appropriate authorities to make the necessary investments and regulatory mechanisms to ensure fulfillment of the promise.”
It further stated that, “Government must ramp up its renewable energy drive from the current one per cent in the national electricity mix to the 10 per cent target from the Renewable Energy Act 2011 if it is certain on this task.
Access to electricity in the country falls
The need for universal electrification led to the adoption of the National Electrification Scheme (NES) in 1985 at what point electricity access stood at 25 per cent within the country.
The scheme was projected for a universal electrification in Ghana by 2020. By 2000, access to electricity had risen to 45 per cent with an annual growth rate of two per cent.
The annual growth rate stood at 2.2 per cent from 2000 to 2010 with national electricity access reaching 67 per cent of the entire country. From 2010 to 2016, Ghana’s electricity access had an annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent, extending electricity national access to 83 per cent of the country.
However, the country from 2016-2020 has experienced the lowest growth in electricity access over the last two decades. The annual electricity access growth in the last four years stands roughly at 0.6 per cent, bringing the national electricity access to just above 85 per cent. This slow pace of growth from 2017 to 2020 resulted in the extension of the target date for the universal electrification to 2025.
“With the current target in mind, the government must work to increase electricity access by at least 3.5 per cent annually from now up on to 2025. The growth must also be with the renewable energy sources as towns without electricity are in difficult-to-reach areas, mainly lakesides and islands,” the statement said.