Government backs VRA, Bui Power in renewable energy drive

Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Energy says government is committed to supporting the  Volta  River  Authority  (VRA) and Bui Power Authority to reach their full renewable energy (RE) potential.

He made the statement at the 7th Renewable Energy Fair organised by the Energy Commission in Accra.

The VRA, the country’s largest power generation company which accounts for about 48 percent of production, is diversifying its operations into solar and wind energy, electric vehicles charging stations, in addition to its existing thermal and hydro plants. Its footprints in RE so far include a 17MW solar PV from its Kaleo and Lawra project this year.

The Bui Power Authority on the other hand has also completed the installation of 51MW solar PV in Bui in the Bono Region which includes a first- of-its-kind 1MW floating solar PV installation in the ECOWAS region.

Renewable energy currently accounts for just 2.4 percent of the power generated in the country. The government meanwhile is seeking to achieve a

10 percent renewable energy target by 2030 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, goal 7, which talks about universal access to clean and affordable electricity.

“I want to assure you that the Ministry of Energy would support them [VRA and Bui Power] to reach their full renewable energy potential,” Dr. Opoku Prempeh said.

He also revealed that Cabinet has considered a proposal to increase the 17MW Kaleo/Lawra plant capacity to about 35MW by end of 2023.

Dr. Opoku Prempeh further cited the ongoing construction of the Pwalugu Multi-purpose power plant comprising of a 60MW hydropower hybridized with a 50MW solar plant by the VRA.

This project, he said, is strategic because when completed, would add another golden feather in VRA renewable energy portfolio and open up the entire northern region of Ghana to accelerated economic development.

“We are committed and would ensure the timely completion of this project,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said, Bui Power Authority has the infrastructure and resources to ramp up to 250MW solar.

In addition to the renewable energy projects being undertaken by VRA and Bui Power, he said, the country had also completed the project’s preparatory phase of the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP).

“Just last month, we had experts from the African Development Bank and the Swiss Government in the country to undertake the SREP Project

Preparatory Appraisal Mission. The Ministries of Energy and Finance are working around the clock to address the observations and recommendations by the mission as soon as possible.

“All things being equal, we are poised to commence full implementation of the SREP by the second quarter of 2022,” he noted.

The programme would provide opportunities to both the public and private sectors in the deployment and use of renewable energy in the country. He added that the SREP would contribute significantly to the attainment of the last-mile electrification goal by 2025.

Having developed the first large-scale grid-connected Solar PV plant, 2.5MW at Navrongo at the time when the full range of regulation was not in place, VRA said it is poised to sustain its leadership role in the power sector.

“In maintaining our leadership role in the power sector, the VRA has successfully undergone a financial recovery programme and has transitioned into a sustainability plan, which has renewable energy and conversion of our simple cycle thermal plants to combined cycle as key elements for driving down our cost and our carbon footprint,” VRA’s Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Antwi-Dankwa, said in a speech read on his behalf.

Beyond the Kaleo/Lawra projects, he added, VRA would roll out many RE projects among others within the next five years.

These include 60MW Hydro and 50MW Solar PV Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam Project, 60MW Solar PV at Bongo, 50MW Floating Solar PV on th Kpong Head Pond, and 75MW Wind Power Project Phase-1.

Others are the construction of a wind project in Ada in Accra and Anloga in the Volta Region. The Authority also wants to play a leading role in the e-mobility or electric vehicles space.

“As the foremost generating company in the country, we are the benchmark and the standard for operating practices in the sector,” he said.

Ghana Renewable Energy Fair

Themed ‘Removing barriers to renewable energy development in Ghana”, the three-day event, 12 to 14 October 2021, is organised by the Energy

Commission in partnership with the VRA, Bui Power Authority, and the Ministry of Energy.

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Energy Commission, said the Ghana Renewable Energy Fair, aims at providing a platform for collaboration between government, private sector, and civil society for the promotion of renewable energy.

Commenting on the event, Dr. Opoku Prempeh said: “I have no doubt that the successes that the Ghana Renewable Energy Fair has chalked in the past six years are as the result of the growing interest to decarbonize our planet and limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo in a statement read on his behalf said the government is leaving no stone unturned in providing quality leadership in the country’s quest to develop a sustainable energy economy with very few challenges.

“It is, therefore, a laudable idea to have stakeholders in the energy sector come together every year to deliberate and brainstorm on matters affecting the sector and present concrete measures to address them in order to ensure that industry players truly benefit from their investment,” he commended

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