Business News of 2014-08-02

Former Dep. Minister urges gov’t to re-think solar energy

Former Deputy Energy Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor has urged government to re-consider its solar energy development plan since is not economically viable.

According to him, government should realign its energy development plan with the current economic condition of the country considering the high cost of hydro and thermal energy generation to supplement the solar system.

“There is no way we can economically utilize grid-connected solar. In any case if you don’t have storage it will mean for any 100megawatts you have to produce in terms of solar, you will need 100megawatts of conventional power to back it and therefore the economics does not add up,” Dr. Donkor explained.

Over the years the nation has been plunged into incessant energy crisis with the nation’s energy generation power houses producing below capacity. This has compelled government to seek alternative means of power generation to improve energy generation in the country.

Dr. Donkor who also doubles as the Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament noted solar energy as a vital component to boost the national grid and called for other alternative means of acquiring the facility without attracting unnecessary cost.

“Solar must be an important component of our energy mix and therefore we should look at ways of solar that enhances our national development agenda without adding unnecessary cost.

Currently, government in its energy development plan aims at seeking renewable energy drive as an alternative source of energy. Already two megawatts of solar energy have been developed in Navrongo in the northern region.

The policy aims at energy diversification and at increasing the share of renewable energy to 10% of the national energy mix.

In February, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) signed a $320million Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Mere Power Nzema Limited (MPNL) to install photovoltaic (PV) plants near the villages of Awiaso and Akpandue in the Ellembelle district of the Western Region.

With the installation of the PV solar plants, the nation is expected to add 155megawatts of power to the national grid.