IES: Renewables key to attaining universal electricity access

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An energy research think tank, the Institute for Energy Security (IES), has said Ghana needs to increase investment in renewable energy to help it achieve universal access to electricity by the new target date of 2025.

The proportion of the population with access to electricity reached 85 percent in 2019. set 2020 was set as the target year by the government to attain universal access to electricity, previously, but this has been pushed forward to 2025.

The IES said failure to meet the national renewable energy goal of 10 percent contribution to the energy-generation mix contributed to the failure to achieve universal access to electricity as initially projected.

The think tank’s comments were contained in an analysis of renewable energy policies in the manifestoes of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

It said “After continuously increasing power generation capacity from largely thermal sources, and increasing electricity access through grid expansions, it is now time for Ghana to be religious on its policy goal of 100 percent national electricity access using renewable energy as a catalyst.”

Universal access to electricity is “feasible with the support of renewable energy sources, since a considerable proportion of the communities awaiting connection to the national electricity grid are currently difficult to access because they are lakeside communities, with others planted on islands that require connection by sub-marine cables.”

According to the IES, the country ought to do more if it must meet its national goal of using renewable energy for 10 percent of total energy production by the new target date of 2030.

The think tank further revealed that although Ghana abounds with renewable energy resource potential, particularly biomass, solar and wind—and, to a lesser extent, small and mini-hydropower—the bulk of this potential remains largely untapped.

the access rate must grow on average by 3 percentage points each year to the target date, For the universal access ambition to be realised, it added.

Meanwhile, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) point to continued decline in solar and wind power costs.

The data indicate that solar photovoltaic (PV) prices based on competitive procurement could average close to 4 cents (US$0.039) per kilowatt-hour for projects commissioned in 2021, down 42 percent compared to 2019, and more than one-fifth less than the cheapest fossil-fuel competitor, like coal-fired plants.

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