A former Director for Renewable and Alternative Energies at Ghana’s Ministry of Energy, Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo says Africa’s industrialisation drive would only be realised if the continent’s electricity generation is anchored on hydro, nuclear, natural gas or coal power as cheap baseload.
According to him, industries need regular and reliable supply of electricity for continuous production, stressing wind and solar power plants do not provide 24 hours of electricity as compared to hydro, natural gas or nuclear power.
He suggested that what Africa can do is either use hydro or nuclear power as baseload for her electricity and introduce other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar along the way.
He said it would not be prudent to push for renewable energy sources without having any baseload.
“Industries need reliable power to be able to produce. Solar is not available for 24 hours. You get it for, at most, eight hours. Wind also fluctuates. Sometimes, the wind will blow some hours and will not blow and industries can’t survive with these intermittencies. That is why you need a bigger baseload to support this intermittencies,” he explained.
“Africa cannot industrialise on the backbone of solar and wind without any baseload,” he added.
Making a presentation on behalf of Bui Power Authority (BPA) at a stakeholders’ forum organised by Association of Ghana Industries, in collaboration with Nuclear Power Ghana recently on Ghana’s nuclear efforts, Mr. Ahiataku-Togobo, who is currently Director at the Executive office of Bui Power Authority, observed that most African countries use diesel, light crude and heavy oil as fuel for electricity generating plant with only few of them using natural gas to power their plants.
He said South Africa is the only industrialised country in sub-Saharan Africa due to the availability of cheap coal and nuclear power.
He noted that Malaysia is industrialising at a fast rate due to availability of coal and NLG power.
“Ghana is endowed with abundant natural resources including gold, bauxite, iron ore, cocoa among others that require cheap reliable power to add value,” said Mr. Togobo.
He lamented that even though Ghana currently has excess generation capacity, Valco is unable to pay for the high cost of this excess power.
Mr. Ahiataku-Togobo explained that BPA was in support of Ghana’s nuclear power agenda because the “activity is in line with the BPA’s Amendment Act 1046 to support the development of renewable and clean energy alternative including nuclear power.”
He added that nuclear power emits no carbon dioxide yet has the potential to provide reliable baseload and adequate reserve margin for supporting the uptake of more variable renewable energies such as wind and solar.
He further stated that operational cost of nuclear power is very low and, therefore, most suitable to support industrialisation and value addition as experienced by all the countries with Nuclear power plants.