Kick off workshop on renewable energies development opens in Accra

Accra- The Federal Government of Germany has set aside 230,000 Euros to kick-start a feasibility study on renewable energies development, for a Pilot Project implementation in Ghana.

Dr Christoph Rovekamp, the Head of Division 722 Basic Energy Research at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), announced this at a regional stakeholders’ consultation workshop which opened in Accra on Thursday.

He said the funding from the BMBF, would support a joint scientific team of experts from research institutions in Ghana and Germany to seek inputs from, and collaborate with industry and civil society in the energy sector, including the Energy Commission, Electricity Company of Ghana, GRIDCo, the Kumasi Institute of Technology Energy and Environment (KITE) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Dr Rovekamp explained that the broad objective of the feasibility study was to conduct a detailed technical and financial assessment of renewable energies, focusing on technologies and their applications in all sectors of the country, and to produce a comprehensive report.

The report, he said, would form the basis for decision making on the choice of a renewable energy pilot project implementation.

Therefore, the collaboration would help them acquire knowledge on existing projects, skill, data and information on skill gaps on renewable energy as well as suitable technology transfer options including financing mechanisms and analysis of environmental and legal risks, he said.

He said it was envisaged that a period of six months (July to December 2018), was required to undertake all the three phases of the assessment, including the two workshops and production of the feasibility study report.

Dr Savadogo, the Executive Director of WASCAL, who welcomed the participants, said the workshop, which was being organised by the BMBF, and the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), was the second step in assessing research priorities in Renewable Energies.

It therefore aimed at consulting the energy sector stakeholders, academia, entrepreneurs and civil society on the methodology of the pilot project.

He indicated that the workshop would serve as a kick-off meeting and launch of the feasibility study, which had the ultimate goal of finding headway in solving the energy deficiency problems that were faced by countries in the Sub-Region.

This, he said, was part of a pilot project for rolling out new research activities in the West African Sub-Region.

Mr Hans-Helge Sander, the Deputy Head of Missions of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana, underscored the importance of renewable energy mix into the country’s electricity grid to ensure sustainable power supply for national development.

He however said there was no need to reinvent the wheel which could result in duplications, but urged the experts to build on existing programmes, sourcing for available data and information from institutions that were already working on similar projects, in order to identify the gaps that needed to be addressed.

He urged the researchers to also explore new areas such as technology transfer, as well as the limitations of Ghana’s Local Content Law on renewable energy, and its effect on industry.

Mr Sander expressed his appreciation to the Energy Commission for Championing the Project, and the CSIR and other stakeholder institutions for their partnership.

Mr Fredrick Appiah, the Chief Programmes Officer at the Energy Commission, said the country was currently considering other cheaper energy sources as hydro power had become unsustainable due to the impact of climate change on the environment.

Hence the various interventions including the Renewable Energy Act 832, has paved the way for private sector participation, while the Fund set for this purpose was yet to be operationalised.

The proposed institutional composition for the study would include experts from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the Brew-Hammond Energy Centre of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon.

The rest are KITE, the Centre for Climate Change and Gender Studies of the University of Energy and Natural Resources at Sunyani, the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the KNUST, and a research institution based in Germany.

MESTI would however provide the overall coordination and management of the project activities, ensuring that all deliverables were provided timely and according to design.

Source: Ghana News Agency