The development of wind energy resource for commercial power generation in Ghana is steadily taking centre stage in national discourse on energy sufficiency. The Chief Director at the Ministry of Energy, Professor Thomas Mba Akabzaa told ghanabusinessnews.com that, the ministry has earmarked potential land areas along the coast of Ghana, for the sole purpose of wind power generation to complement the other energy production sources.
According to him, preliminary wind resource assessment results in selected sites along the coasts and high elevations showed moderate to excellent wind potentials. The gross wind electric potential is about 5,600 MW representing some 1,128km, he said.
Adding that, infrastructure such as road, grid network and load centres coincide with most areas where these wind potentials exist. Prof. Akabzaa revealed that, when this is complete, it will promote the use of renewable energy and increase access to sustainable energy sources.
Renewable energy resources in Ghana include wood fuel, hydro, solar energy, wind turbines, biofuels, waste-to-energy and animal traction. According to him, the ministry has adopted some strategies such as providing the regulatory framework and fiscal incentives for the development and promotion of renewable energies by the private sector such as Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
He also said the ministry will provide support to renewable energy sector agencies to undertake detailed assessment of renewable energy resources with potential for electricity generation, support for research, development and demonstration of economically viable renewable energy technological options for grid connected, mini-grid and off-grid applications to achieve 10% contribution of new renewable sources in the electricity generation mix by 2020.
He also revealed that, a Renewable Energy Bill which has the following main contents- Feed-in-Tariff, Obligatory purchase, Renewable Energy Fund is currently in parliament for consideration and enactment into law. Professor Akabzaa said Ghana has an installed capacity of 1,960MW made up of hydro and thermal facilities. He said electricity demand which is currently 1,400MW is growing at about 10% per annum.
And according to information from the ministry, it is estimated that Ghana requires capacity additions of about 200MW to catch up with increasing demand in the medium to long term. The existing power plants are unable to attain full generation capacity as a result of limitations in fuel supply owing to rising fuel prices and uncertainty in rainfall and water inflows into the hydroelectric power facilities.
Ghana has an extensive transmission system, according to the ministry which covers all the regions of the country. Transmission infrastructure has, however, deteriorated over the years, resulting in transmission bottlenecks, overloaded transformer sub-stations and high system losses, therefore a developed wind energy would help address some of these challenges.
Pascal Kelvin Kudiabor, www.ghanabusinessnews.com/