A Validation Workshop on the Feasibility Study Report on Renewable Energy Resources Development in Ghana for the Implementation of a Pilot Project has been held in Accra. The workshop organized by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR), the implementing  agency of the project  sought to validate the desk , field and feasibility study reports for finalization and submission to the Government of Ghana. Participants were drawn from West Africa Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry of Energy, Energy Commission, KNUST, University of Energy and Natural Resources, CSIR-Institute of Industrial Research (IIR), CSIR- Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), University of Ghana, GIZ, KfW, German Embassy, and the Renewable Energy Association of Ghana. 

The validation workshop is a sequel to a multi-stakeholder workshop held on April 16, 2018 to discuss possible ways of implementing renewable energy projects and the benefits such projects will bring to Ghana and the entire West African sub-region. A team of experts were commissioned at the end of the workshop to conduct a feasibility study on renewable energy technologies and applications, which would subsequently lead to the implementation of a pilot renewable energy project. The recommendations emanating from the review of the study report is expected to guide the project team to chart the path for the implementation of a pilot Renewable Energy Plant in Ghana.

In his presentation on the overview of the feasibility studies, the Director-General of CSIR, Prof. Victor Kwame Agyeman said that, the energy situation in Ghana as at December 2017, showed that total power generation was 14,069 GWH with the following breakdown: Hydro sources (39.92%), Thermal power (59.88%) and Renewable energy (0.2%). He indicated that installed generation in 2017 was 4,398 MW with peak demand at 2,192.15MW. This means that Ghana had enough power, but distribution has been a challenge for off-grid and island communities.

He presented key challenges identified in the energy sector as: inadequate electricity infrastructure, installed electricity supply outstripped demand but poor distribution networks, in adequate transmission system - outdated transmission equipment and distribution companies’ inability to recover cost through tariffs. He said that, within the next decade, it is expected that 4 billion US dollars would be invested in the energy sector to upgrade the transmission, distribution and generation assets of the system. Ghana lost 10% growth of GDP from 2006 -2007.

Prof. Victor Agyemang outlined the challenges associated with investing in Renewable energy (RE)  as follows: Unattractive  to private sector due to low purchasing power, Poor access to long term financing by the private sector, high cost in extending grid electricity to island and lake side communities and improper disposal of municipal solid waste and forest/crop residues.

He said, a desk study with focus on review of published data and supported by grey literature from Government Agencies and other relevant private organizations was commissioned. The three (3) desk studies on renewable energy commissioned were; Solar, Biogas and other forms of renewable energy, Biomass (Forest and Agricultural Waste) and finally, Policy, Governance, Socio-Economic dimensions, and gender consideration led to the recommendation of field studies to be conducted at the identified sites to determine the performance of some RE projects and also to interact with the project owners/managers on the lessons learnt and best practices in implementing RE projects.

The four technologies selected for evaluation under the field studies were; Hybrid Mini Hydro-Solar Systems, Hybrid Solar-Biogas Power for Communities, biomass: Sawdust and Oil Mill Solid Waste Combustion for Electricity and Heat Generation as well as Cook stove (Development of Business Model for uptake.)

The proposed studies were undertaken by teams of three (3) to five (5) members each and it revealed that; the ever increasing demand for energy more than the system can take requires the consideration of the rate of population growth for at least ten years as well as economic growth and a capacity that allows for productive uses in order to establish a pilot mini-grid. Based on the output of the field visit, technical, economic and social analysis of Juaben Oil Mill Ltd and Samartex Ghana Ltd, both projects are technically and economically feasible. Solar-Biogas hybrid system is a viable green technology source for rural electrification (Island Communities) and the sanitation aspect of the technology is what drives Biogas to create value. The socio economic benefits derived in terms of fertilizer to increase crop yields and the clean environment from solar-biogas hybrid systems far outweighs the cost of investment in solar PV system alone. There is also a huge market for the cook stove sector as more households and institutions are adopting the improved stoves and taking advantages of the health, economic and environmental benefits.

In a statement delivered on behalf of the German Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Christoph Retzlaff, by the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Helge Sander, the German ambassador commended the feasibility studies conducted leading to the production of very good reports and encouraged the implementers (CSIR and Partners) of the project to push the project as fast as possible to give Ghana an edge over other funding sources for the project. He reiterated that similar projects were on the drawing board and waiting for the same funding sources from the Germans hence the need for the team to expedite action on this project.

In a keynote address delivered on behalf of the Minister for Environment,Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng by the Deputy Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, the Minister noted that the ever increasing demand for energy and global concerns for carbon dioxide emissions have resulted in the exploitation of alternative, sustainable and renewable energy resources. He disclosed that, in Ghana, renewable energy resources that have been exploited include Bio energy (Biomass including waste-to-energy and bio-fuels), tidal and wave power, solar energy, wind power and hydropower (mini and large). Ghana’s renewable energy (RE) in the form of hydro power already accounts for 43.2% of total installed electricity generation as at 2015, and that, the other forms of RE need to be promoted too.

The Minister, commended the German Government for funding the feasibility studies and her readiness to fund the pilot project in Ghana through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF). He thanked the Experts for the commitment to the project and entreated participants to discuss the report and fine-tune it for submission to his Ministry, to guide the commencement of the pilot project.

After a review of the various field study reports, two hybridized RE options; Hybrid Waste-to Energy and solar system and Hybrid Biomass and Solar PV System were finally settled on. In light of this, a proposal on the two selected options have been submitted to BMBF for possible funding support. Ghana does not currently have any experience in running a hybrid renewable energy plant at the proposed scale, making these plants the first of their kind in the country.

The comments, proposals, and recommendations emanating from the workshop have been documented to enable the feasibility report revised and finalised. The revised feasibility report would be subsequently submitted to the Government of Ghana through the Minister of MESTI, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng for implementation of the selected pilot RE plant.  

Credit: This project is being funded by the German Government through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI). The Project Implementation Lead Agency is Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-Ghana) and West Africa Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), the Project Management Agency. Other participating Ministries and Agencies are Ministry of Energy-Ghana, Ministry of Sanitation, Energy Commission-Ghana, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), KITE, KNUST-Kumasi and other private sector players.

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A cross-section of participants at the validation Workshop

 

Front Row: Left to Right

  1. Prof. Victor Agyeman                   -       Director-General of CSIR (Nat. Coordinator)
  2. Ms. Rosa Djangba                       -                          KITE, Accra
  3. Dr. Mrs. Beatrice Darko Obiri       -       Principal Research Scientist, CSIR-FORIG
  4. Mr. Wisdom Togobo                     -                       Director, Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy
  5. Mr. Henge Sander                       -        Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy
  6. Mr. Ebenezer Appah-Sampong   -                       Deputy Executive Director, EPA
  7. Prof. Paul Bosu                           -        Deputy Director-General, CSIR
  8. Ms. Doris Akrofi                                  -                             Ministry of Energy
  9. Dr. Moumini Savadogo                -         Executive Director, WASCAL
  10. Ms. Nicola Hodasi                       -                         German Embassy, Accra

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