Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday opened the third ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum, with a call on stakeholders to reflect on the way forward towards implementing strategic regional sustainable energy projects to ensure universal energy coverage by 2030.
He noted that the policy for sustainable renewable energy was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments in July 2013, therefore, it was high time African leaders and stakeholders in the energy sector implement actionable projects and programmes to achieve the targets.
He underlined the need for the African continent to remove all the institutional and infrastructure impediments and solicit the right investments towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) seven.
Vice President Bawumia made the call when he delivered a keynote address at the third edition of ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum and Exhibition, organised by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Energy in Accra.
The three-day forum was on the theme: “Achieving Sustainable Energy Targets in ECOWAS,” aimed at promoting exchange of ideas, cooperation and investments for renewable energy solutions in the sub-region and the Continent at large.
It also intended to promote regulatory framework that would attract the requisite private sector investments for sustainable renewable energy in Africa.
The event attracted government officials, policy-makers and civil society organisations within the ECOWAS region and development partners, including the European Union, German Development Corporation, United Nations Development Programme and the Diplomatic Community.
Vice President Bawumia said the Government of Ghana enacted Renewable Energy Act in 2011 to create the enabling environment to attract the requisite investments into the energy sector.
He added that an Energy Master Plan had been constituted that will guide government’s renewable energy policy direction, thus, enumerated a number of projects being implemented to increase the supply of renewable energy in Ghana, including electricity transmission lines, mini grids, and solar panels, noting that the nation had been supply power to Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso, while efforts were underway to export power to Mali and Niger in the Saharian region.
A Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of power, William Owuraku Aidoo, for his part, said Ghana had committed itself to unconditionally reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emission by undertaking mitigation measures in the energy sector.
They included the scaling up of the penetration of renewable energy in the electricity generation mix, promotion of cleaner rural household lighting to replace kerosene, wood as main lighting fuel and promoting cleaner cooking solutions.
Mr. Aidoo said the nation enacted the Renewable Energy Act to create the enabling environment for attracting private sector investment, noting that, it had resulted in the influx of the private sector in the integration of utility scale renewable energy in both residential and non-residential facilities.
The Deputy Minister said the nation’s current electrification rate stood at 85% and was committed to achieving 90% universal access by 2020.
To achieve the target, he said government would deploy additional 55 mini grids 35,000 solar home systems and one million solar lanterns in hard to reach communities where electricity grid cannot be extended within the next five years.
Mr. Aidoo said government will continue to promote the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, adding that, plans were far advanced to change the current refilling model to the cylinder recirculation model.
The Executive Director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Energy, Mahama Kappiah, who is the convenor of the forum, in his welcome address, said currently, there was less than 600 clean energy mini grids in operation in the sub-region, which fell short of the 60,000 clean energy mini grids target for the sub-region.
He called for robust to attract the requisite investments to achieve the target in order to reduce carbon emissions that negatively affects the climate.