The Government of Ghana has said the country is in readiness to phase out the usage of fossil fuel as the country transitions to renewable energy in line with the global decarbonization agenda.

Speaking at the Eastern Regional Forum for National Energy Transition Plan organized by the Ministry of Energy at Koforidua, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Andrews Agyapa Mercer said, the government is cognizant of the fact that transition to cleaner energy in the next few years will require substantial resources.

In that vein, the paucity of such resources could affect the immediate transition to cleaner energy, therefore, the government is determined to leverage revenues from indigenous oil and gas resources to develop the cleaner Energy the world advocates.

He said the government will continue to explore and develop oil and gas in a more environmentally friendly manner, enforce the zero flaring policy and carbon capture utilization and storage technology to ensure that petroleum activities do not adversely impact the environment.

The Deputy Energy Minister said, while Ghana is developing National Energy Transition Plans,  the Ministry of Energy has resolved that fossil fuels particularly natural gas will continue to be part of Ghana’s energy mix, however, strategies will be put in place to increase the share of renewable energy in medium to long term.

“Currently, about 70 per cent of Ghana’s generation installed capacity of 5,321MW is from a thermal plant that uses natural gas as their primary fuel. This proportion is projected to increase to meet the growing energy demand commensurate with energy demands and national economic growth”.

Andrews Agyapa Mercer stated that, afforestation programs and carbon credits will also be introduced as measures to avoid further pollution to the environment by oil and gas production activities.

He also said Fuel stations and combustible engine cars cannot be abandoned in Ghana in the short, medium term even though the world is fast moving to electronic vehicles as part of the renewable energy transition agenda, adding that, the government is therefore working to revitalize Tema Oil Refinery “to meet our domestic demands and reduced our dependency on imported petroleum products thereby guaranteeing fuel security in the country”

He also stressed that ,  Ghana Petroleum Hub Development Corporation has also been established to develop the petrol chemical industry to provide materials required to manufacture solar panels, wind blades, and battery cells.

“This will contribute to our net-zero agenda without compromising the benefits of the petroleum industry.

The government is aggressively developing and utilising clean energy sources such as solar , wind and nuclear. Since 2017, the government of Ghana through the Bui power authority and Volta river authority has made strides as the renewable energy leader. The total renewable energy mix is 100mw which is 2.4% of th national energy mix”

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Hassan Tampuli said the Transport Sector is focusing on the technological shift to gradually phase -out fossil fuels in the sector to help achieve net zero future hence the Ministry is currently developing e- mobility policy to guide the deployment and scale up of electric vehicles in the country.

Additionally, he said, the Ministry will soon introduce the first-ever powered electric buses ,as well as gas-powered buses for public transportation

“Majority of Ghanaians depend on small to medium size vehicles powered by either petrol or diesel engines. Data available at the DVLA shows that out of the 2.8 million registered vehicles as of 2021,72 per cent are powered by petrol engines, 27% by diesel engines, and less than 1% by LPG and other energy sources. The results of this high dependency on fossil fuels coupled with a number of factors such as traffic congestion have made the transport sector a net emitter of greenhouse gases.

“In this regard, the minister for transport has indicated that the next set of buses that we are going to get for STC, MMT are all going to be electric vehicles. These interventions are likely going to serve as important leverage that is going to set the tone for the global gradual decarbonization of the transport industry.”

The Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong said the transition to renewable energy will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) seven (7) which is “Affordable and Clean Energy for all by 2030.

“I strongly believe that developing a National Energy Transition Plan is part of our efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal Seven (7).  It requires strong partnership between the government on one hand and civil society, the private sector, traditional authorities and academia on the other hand.  It is, therefore, relevant for all stakeholders to provide useful information to augment the preparation of the plan”

Some participants raised concerns over concomitant job losses during transition to clean energy, possible shortage of petroleum products since refineries across the world will fold up in the next few decades,as well as revenue shortfalls as Ghana’s petroleum industry is still fledging.

A representative from the Renewable Energy systems department of Koforidua Technical University, KTU, at a roundtable discussion called for modelling of all Ghana’s renewable energy and establishing modalities for a successful transition.

Inputs from the forum which will be held across the country will be used to draft the Ghana Energy Transition Plan towards our commitment to the Paris Agreement and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26

Source: Ghana/ Ansah