Improving electricity supply security in Ghana—The potential of renewable energy

Type Journal Article - Renewable and sustainable energy reviews
Title Improving electricity supply security in Ghana—The potential of renewable energy
Volume 43
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 1035-1045
For decades, Ghana’s economy has been fuelled by abundant inexpensive
hydropower. As a developing economy, Ghana’s electricity demand has long been
relatively low, though rising in recent times due to increasing economic growth,
urbanization and industrial activities. However, the rapid demand growth, as well as
periodic hydrological shocks, leaves the country increasingly reliant on expensive oil
and gas-based generation power plants, with a resultant drain on the national
economy. The main electricity generation company, the Volta River Authority, is not
able to generate enough electricity for all the demand sectors. The electricity supplydemand
margins ̶ the difference between peak demand and available supply ̶of the
country fall short of the recommended engineering practice and thus presents a high
supply security risk. The country has been experiencing an increase in the frequency
of power cuts over the last ten years. It is clear that Ghana will have to expand and
diversify its generation capacity in order to improve supply security. This paper
provides a review of the assessed potential renewable energy resources, their current
exploitation status, and their potential contribution to the electricity supply of the
country. The paper also presents the barriers to their utilization and the existing
policy and regulatory instruments to overcome those barriers, plus the current and
expected future impacts of these instruments. The results show that Ghana has
several RES, such as wind, solar PV, mini hydro and modern biomass that can be
exploited for electricity production. While their exploitation for electricity generation
is currently very low, providing just 0.13% of the country’s generation, the review
shows a great potential for RES generation to increase substantially over the next
decade, looking at the government commitment and legal frameworks that are being
put in place.

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