Government’s target of generating 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 has received a major boost.

Petroleum company, ENI and the Savannah accelerated Development Authority have signed an agreement to assess the feasibility of establishing a solar plant in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ).

The plant which would have a capacity of generating between 20 and 50 megawatts of power, would not only generate alternative source of power for the irrigation and commercial agriculture in the Savannah Ecological Zone, but provide employment to indigenes in the area.

The agreement between SADA and ENI is to assess the technical and economic feasibility of putting up the solar plant. Managing Director for ENI, Fabio Cavanna said the agreement fits into the company’s long term-energy strategy aimed at integrating its traditional business with energy from renewable sources.

“That is why Ghana is being selected to be one of the countries where ENI wants to get engaged for renewable projects,” Cavanna added.

The major role of SADA in this partnership is to facilitate the allocation of land for the project as well as assist with the regulatory procedures at the local level.

With the SADA zone accounting for 54.4% of Ghana’s total landmass, coupled with the high radiation in the region, CEO of SADA, Charles Abugre says the area is attractive for such projects.

“The most suitable radiation available in this country for solar is in the savannah. It is also the place with enough land for farms. A 20 MW power plant might take up to 200 acres of land,” he touted.

He is, however, hopeful that the project would inure to the benefit of the community as well as the country in general. “We are hoping that this MOU can be the beginning of a much bigger ambition for the generation of renewable energy in this country”.

Eni is Italy’s largest Petroleum Exploration Company which is currently leading the development of the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) project in Ghana.

The $7 billion project which is in collaboration with Vitol Energy will produce an estimated 80,000 barrels of crude oil daily in 2017 as well as 170 million cubic feet of gas by 2018. The gas project is projected to generate at least 1 gigawatts of electricity.

Source: Ghana/ Tawakalitu Braimah