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General News of Thursday, 19 August 2010

Source: Business Analyst

Ghana, Nigeria Energy Commissions Brainstorm

Finding Solutions to Regional Energy Challenges

By J. Ato Kobbie, Managing Editor

The Energy Commission of Ghana, on Monday and Tuesday, played host to their Nigerian counterparts, the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), who are in the country to collaborate with them in order to map out strategies for the efficient management of the energy sector in their respective countries and the sub-region.

It is expected that the grounds for a memorandum of understanding for greater collaboration would have been established at the end of the visit for greater collaboration between the two institutions.

After a presentation by the Executive Secretary of Ghana’s Energy Commission, Dr. Alfred Ofosu Ahenkorah, during which he took the visitors through the mandate and achievements of his outfit, the Director General of ECN, Prof. A. S. Sambo, also walked his hosts through the functions and achievements of his outfit as well as challenges confronting them. It came out during the presentations that both countries recognized the tremendous savings that could be made in electricity consumption from convincing consumers to convert from incandescent lamps to CFLs and were vigorously pursuing that. Interestingly, both institutions were spot on at 40Megawatts as savings that could be made from changing one million incandescent bulbs to CFLs. Dr. Ahenkorah recounted some of the achievements of his outfit as including: the development of a strategic National energy plan in 2006, for the period ending in the year 2020; production and annual review of energy statistics, energy balance, and indicative plan; as well as providing information on energy resource and technologies relevant to Ghana.

He spoke also about other pending programmes and policies, which would be rolled out in due course as a means of improving efficiency in the energy sector as a whole.

On his part, Prof. Sambo disclosed that Nigeria has six research centres, which are located at different universities in the country.

Like its Ghanaian counterpart, he said ECN advised the Nigerian government on energy policy issues, co-ordinating and developing master plans for a balanced and co-ordinated development of energy in the country.

He said this role of ECN included making recommendations for the exploitation of new sources of energy as and when considered necessary. The ECN boss disclosed that his oufit advised the Nigerian government as to the funding needs of the various agencies in the energy sector for their efficient functioning. Additionally, like their Ghanaian counterparts, ECN formulated guidelines and provided information that was relevant to the functions of the various agencies in the energy sector of Nigeria. Prof. Sambo disclosed that in order to arrest the harm that deforestation was causing, Nigeria has designed cooking stoves that are more efficient in traditional fuel usage to slow down the effects of charcoal and fuel wood usage. Present at the forum were the Chairman of Ghana’s Energy Commission, Prof. Abeeku Brew-Hammond, who welcomed the visitors, as well as top management staff of the Commission. The Nigerian delegation, which was led by Prof. Sambo, included high ranking officials in the Nigerian Energy Sector, such as Prof. Eli J. Bala, Director in charge of Renewable Energy, Dr. (Mrs.) Roseline Kela, Deputy Director (Energy Management Training & Manpower Development), and Engr. Ismaila H. Zarma, all of ECN. The guests, who were expected to return home on Wednesday, were taken on a tour of energy-related facilities in the country, including a visit to the Akosombo Dam, the source of Ghana’s hydropower on Tuesday.