The Institute for Energy Security (IES), an energy think-tank in the Republic of Ghana, has suggested to the President of the West African nation, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, to increase electricity access by at least 3.5 percent annually for the next four years in order to achieve universal access to electricity by 2025.
Ghana’s electricity access rate was about 85.17 percent at the end of 2020.
What it means is that, out of the estimated 31 million populations, 85.17 percent has access to electricity.
Delivering his inaugural address last Thursday, January 7, 2021, following his re-election in last year’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, President Akufo-Addo promised to ensure that the communities without electricity are connected to the national electricity grid in his second term.
Reacting to the President’s promise, the IES, in a statement, expressed belief that the President’s decision was based on his recognition that electricity is critical in the country’s development matrix for inclusive development and growth.
“The need for universal electrification led to the adoption of the National Electrification Scheme (NES) in 1985 at what point electricity access stood at 25 percent within the country. The scheme projected for a universal electrification in Ghana by 2020,” IES lamented.
IES, which seeks security in energy demand and supply, observed that by 2020, access to electricity had risen to 45 percent with an annual growth rate of two percent, adding that the annual growth rate stood at 2.2 percent from 2000 to 2010, with national electricity access reaching 67 percent of the entire country.
IES explained that from 2010 to 2016, Ghana’s electricity access had an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent extending electricity national access to 83 percent in the country.
Touching on the growth rate from 2016 to 2020, it said Ghana’s electricity growth rate experienced the lowest access over the last two decades, with an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the four years, culminating in a national electricity access to just above 85 percent.
The IES argued that the slow growth rate from 2017 to 2020 resulted in the extension of the target date for the universal electrification to 2025.
“Though IES is pleased with the government’s renewed resolve to act on this mandate, it remains cautious in hope as recent history does not instill confidence. The IES, as a result, entreats the appropriate authorities to make the necessary investments and regulatory mechanism to ensure a fulfillment of the promise,” it noted.
The energy think tank stressed that the growth must be with the renewable energy sources as towns without electricity are difficult-to-reach areas, mainly lakesides and islands.
It was of the view that the increase in Ghana’s population and the current need for economic growth and the prospect of universal electrification access are key factors in boosting confidence in the local markets, especially in the many people without access to electricity as that would make them viable markets for industries to reach.
The IES further urged the government to consider revising its decision to freeze discussions and issuance of licences for new Independent Power Producers (IPPs), including renewables that are cheaper and more environmentally friendly, since that decision stalled many renewable power project, some of which had secured all the technical permits from the relevant government and district agencies.