Government is negotiating with development partners to provide funding supports to connect key government facilities including Ministries, Municipalities, Departments and Agencies to solar power.
The initiative is to reduce the government’s burdens of having to pay the utility bills for these establishments and increase the contributions of renewable energy in the energy mix.
Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister, speaking at the fifth Ghana Renewable Energy Fair and National Energy Symposium in Accra, said government was committed to connecting the entire country to either the National electricity grid, mini-grids or standalone power sources.
The four-day event is on the theme: ʺOpportunities for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in a Constrained Energy Sector”.
The Fair is a platform for the dissemination of information on renewable energy and energy efficiency and aimed at enhancing consultation between academia, government representatives, decision-makers, private sector operators, project financiers and consumers.
It is also to inform the broad populace about the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, technology, innovation and future prospects in the industry.
The Senior Minister said the current national electrification access rate stands at 85 per cent, indicating that the entire country would be connected by 2015 ahead of the 2030 target by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
He said amidst the challenges and the actions being taken by government, “we are committed to the promotion of renewable energy in the country and we are in the process of connecting the Jubilee House on solar PV, following the successful connection of the Ministry of Energy to solar plant, which is reducing the power intake from the national grid.”
He said government would continue to enhance the enabling environment by promoting for the private sector to continue to play its role in the renewable energy sector.
Mr Maafo said this has led to a greater uptake of solar energy by both domestic and commercial consumers of electricity in the country including the following captive renewable energy projects.
He said government was investing in transmission infrastructure to link the power market to the Burkina Faso and other Sahelian power markets in the quest to exporting the excess power.
He said the President recently commissioned the first phase of the Ghana-Burkina Faso power interconnection project.
He expressed the hope that government would continue to pursue the path, which would create the desired opportunities for both conventional and renewable energy players in the country.
“We are also exploring the regional market and positioning Ghana to becoming a major exporter of reliable and competitive electricity in the ECOWAS Region,” he added.
He said this was not only benefiting Ghana in terms of foreign exchange earning but also contributing to the regional economics inclusiveness strategy, strengthening security and peace in the sub-region.
Mr Maafo used the opportunity to re-launch the National Energy Symposium, which was initiated by the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Commission in 1987 and it was a biennial energy event of the energy sector until the late 1990s and was re-introduced in 2007 but then, again was cancelled in 2009.
The Symposium will therefore take place as part of the fair on the theme: “Energy and Sustainable Development in the era of Ghana beyond Aid”.
Professor George Hagan, the Board Chairman of Energy Commission, said the re-launch of the symposium was to share, specially energy research findings and works of Ghanaian researchers in academia and industry.
He said the fair has been instrumental in facilitating inter-stakeholder discussions on topical renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and policy issues, identifying opportunities for investment in the utilization of Ghana’s renewable energy resources.
He said in line with the functions of the Commission to promote productive uses of electricity, the “Drive Electric Initiative” would be launched to increase awareness on the use of electric vehicles across the world and to disseminate information on structures and partnership being formed to facilitate the penetration of electric vehicles in the country.
He said the Fair in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service has introduced “The High Schools Renewable Energy Challenges” to display innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects designed by the Senior High Schools students.