Graphic Business News

Renewable Energy Act review underway

By: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Boakye Agyarko, Energy Minister
Mr Boakye Agyarko, Energy Minister

The government says it will soon review the Renewable Energy Act, 2011, to factor in recent developments to help it meet the target of generating 10 per cent of its electricity from “modern” renewable sources by 2020.

The review will mainly border on the incorporation of new development in the industry, as well as to amend the feed-in tariffs provision among others.

The Director in charge of Renewable and Alternative Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, disclosed this to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at a seminar on February 20 in Accra.

The law in its current state, he explained, made provision for feed-in tariffs scheme that was supposed to give renewables some preferential tariff-over conventional to be able to attract more investment but this was no more needed because renewables were becoming cheaper by day, hence the need for the review.

“Presently, it is rather cheaper to generate electricity from solar than most of the thermal sources of power and for this reason, the country does not need a feed-in tariffs provision in our law to be able to stimulate investment in renewables.

Instead, we are at a point where the country is focusing on competitive bidding approach because solar for instance currently has dropped as low as 10 cents per kilowatt hour,” he said.

Competitive bidding
He explained that the government was of the view that with competitive bidding approach, it would be able to further beat down the price.

“We have been monitoring Germany that started with the feed-in tariffs closely to stimulate private sector involvement but as the price dropped, they have now gone into competitive bidding approach,” he said.

Mr Ahiataku-Togobo underlined that the law needed to be amended to reflect development in the industry in order to be able to enjoy lower prices.

“We are hopeful that the new amended act will come out to help further make renewables more cheap in a bid to promote the use of solar energy in the country.”

He observed that the government has achieved only two per cent of its target of generating 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, mainly due to less renewable facilities.

“At the moment, we have two utilities scale which are solar and others in the pipeline. Bui Power recently signed an agreement for the construction of a 15 megawatt facility and had also opened tender for another 15 megawatt,” he said.

“So, the ongoing development, when completed, will set things in the right perspective,” he said and added that the law in its present state defined renewable energy without large hydro with capacity above 100 megawatt.

The rationale behind this provision in the law was that the country had exploited all the large hydro and those that are left to be exploited are those below 100 megawatt.

The law, he said, was aimed at creating the enabling environment for development of hydro below 100 megawatt.

The Renewable Energy Act, 2011 was formulated to provide for the development, management, utilisation, sustainability and adequate supply of renewable energy for generation of heat and power for related matters.

A provision under the act was to see to the setting up of the Renewable Energy Fund, which was expected to provide financial resources for the promotion, development, sustainable management and utilisation of renewable energy sources.

The seminar was to introduce a new technology to members of the Ghana Institution of Energy (GHIE) and other stakeholders in the renewable energy industry.

The technology, PV solar inverter, is suitable for converting Direct Current (DC) from a solar panel into alternating current (AC) that is used by consumers.

PV solar inverter is an innovation of KACO New Energy, a German manufacturer and it’s being introduced in partnership with Deng Ghana Limited, to help accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources in Ghana.

The Technical Sales Manager of KACO New Energy, Mr Dahood Adegbite, said in his presentation that the technology facilitate the reduction of CO2 emission that was being released into the atmosphere.

“KACO New Energy is a German manufacturer, PV solar inverters that convert the direct current (DC) from the solar panel into the alternating current (AC) that is used by consumers,” he said.

He emphasized that KACO manufactured all of its products in a completely CO2 neutral way to help secure the environment for consumers.

“The reason it is good for our solar energy solutions to be used is to reduce the CO2 emission in the atmosphere in order to make the earth a living place for human beings.” GB