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General News of Monday, 2 September 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Climate change threat to power supply — Energy Commission

The Energy Commission (EC) has expressed concern over the alarming rate at which climate change is causing damage to the country’s energy infrastructure, threatening to disrupt the stability of power supply.

It said rising sea levels and storm surges in the coastal areas were damaging pillions that carried high tension cables and thermal plants that provided 58 per cent power in the country.

It also said increasing temperature and drought in the Savannah areas of Ghana were triggering rapid evaporation of water in the three hydro dams — Akosombo, Kpong and Bui — that generated 42 per cent of Ghana’s energy needs.

“The effect of climate change is now taking a bite on our socio-economic development and energy infrastructure,” it said.

The Principal Programme Officer in charge of Renewables at the EC, Mr John Kwesi Yeboah, disclosed this at a two-day meeting in Accra to discuss countries’ preparedness to combat climate change.

The two-day event, organised by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a non-profit organisation, was on the theme: "Nationally determined contributions (NDCs): Climate change and energy dynamic in West Africa", and attended by energy experts from the public and the private sectors to review their NDCs.

Climate impact

Mr Yeboah said it was about time measures were taken to reduce climate impact, as Ghana’s socio-economic and energy infrastructure development could not be divorced from climate actions.

“Temperature increase in Ghana is more highly felt in two-thirds of the country from Ahafo to Upper East and Upper West where there are rivers that feed our hydro plants.

“This means increase in temperature that leads to evaporation, transmission loss and loss of run-off water is actually affecting our energy production and generation,” he said.

He noted that the effect of heavy rainfall in the southern sector was also damaging access roads and power infrastructure, causing service disruption and inhibiting access to energy plants.

He indicated that two-thirds of the country could be described as the hottest and the driest, starting from the Savannah zone, with the southwest having the rain forest.

Worryingly, he said, all the thermal plants were located along the coast of Ghana in areas such as Takoradi, Accra and Essikado, saying: “What this means is that these thermal plants are susceptible to sea level rise, coastal erosion and possibly storm surges.”

Clean energy sources

The Director of the Regional Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, Dr Eric Antwi Ofosu, said emissions from the energy and the transport sectors represented the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

“With a growing rural and urban population, associated energy requirements will lead to an increased use of wood fuels, electricity and oil products, the main energy sources in Ghana,” he said.

He, therefore, called for increased provision of clean cooking stoves, lanterns and other sources of energy for households in rural communities.

Increase investment

Dr Daniel Benefo of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in his presentation, said the implementation of Ghana’s NDCs must achieve prosperity for Ghanaians in the areas of agriculture, energy, transport, decent jobs, inclusion, technology and industrialisation.

“If our NDCs will not help us achieve these gains for the benefit of our people, we must forget them,” he said and called for increased investments in the NDCs that could lead to multiple outcomes at the national, regional and district levels.