Congratulations on your appointment to the office of Energy. Undoubtedly, you are the man for the office as your proficiencies precedes you.
Sir, your nomination is significant because it shows President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to policies based on sustainable energy solutions and sound climate science.
Hon. Agyarko, your ministry is one of the key Ministries since Ghana is gradually under threat from the inexorable combustion of fossil fuels as 70% of our generation comes from thermal power plants.
SIR, much-fossilised thinking within your Ministry will undercut our 10% target on renewables by 2020. There are ample forward-thinking technocrats eager to assist your administration to a complete renewable energy revolution.
SIR, respectfully in my view, one key solution to the perennial power crisis in Ghana will be self-generation and distributed generation of energy through renewable sources.
However, this solution is riddled with regulatory monopolies that must be resolved to become viable. However, the possibility of DUMSOR in 2017 due to a shortfall of about 400MW in our generational capacity is an opportunity for your administration to be remembered as the administration that ‘permanently made dumsor a thing of the past’ as H.E. President Akufo-Addo’s said yesterday,
Sir, I believe that self-generation and distributed generation of renewable energy – i.e., generating power on an industrial scale for a single facility and generating power on a household scale is the solution to the Ghanaian energy crisis.
Self-generation and distributed generation of energy from renewable sources, specifically solar power, will empower each business and household to mitigate, if not solve the energy crisis. Installing Solar Panels on Buildings and Houses, businesses and homes can generate their own electricity, and even provide others with electricity.
Honourable Minister, rural solar electrification with solar minigrids is the solution to the lack of clean safe energy in off-grid and island communities.
The lack of electricity in communities locks many rural families into a cycle of fuel poverty and limits their potential to earn and learn with the productive day cut short when darkness falls.
A rural Ghanaian family living without electricity access can see 7 to 10% of their income burn away on toxic kerosene lit in dangerous homemade lanterns which put families at risk of poisoning, fires, and burns.
As you may agree with me, the poorest are always the worst hit by lack of energy access and rocketing fuel prices because as hydro-power fails, millions are forced to turn to kerosene or charcoal for their basic energy needs.
Whilst hydropower has played a huge role in energizing Ghana’s over the years the current energy crisis shows the dangers of over-reliance on one form of energy. As rainfall patterns become more unpredictable due to the effects of climate change, it has become increasingly important to ensure that investment is channeled into reliable, clean energy alternatives so that large-scale industry can continue to benefit from hydropower. One such option especially beneficial for homes and small businesses is solar.
Sir, again, I do not intend to modulate the colossal potential of Thermal Power Plants in Ghana’s generation, but over the past few years we have witnessed the ramifications of its operations and performance spanning from inconsistent and insufficient gas supply from Nigeria, chain of debt issues with fuel suppliers, vast depreciation of the Ghana Cedi, and routine maintenance of power plants, etc.
Honourable Minister, this is an opportunity for your administration to show that it is dynamic and creative in solving a seemingly impossible crisis to solve. It is your administration that can be remembered for transforming the Ghanaian from a victim of energy poverty and climate change to energy prosperity and a leader in climate adaptation.
Sir, I humbly make all this appeal on the background that despite the enormous radiations we receive in Ghana, only 0.18% of our generational mix comes from solar.
Once again I welcome you and wish you God’s Wisdom and Strength.
Maximilian Kwarteng (BSc, M.B.A.)