Business News of Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Renewable energy fund in the offing

The government will soon set up a special fund for renewable energy to support private and public sector investments in that segment of the energy market.

The fund is to help cushion the extra expenses needed to develop and transmit renewable energies which is seen as a discouragement to its generation and consumption in the country.

As a result, the Ministry of Energy together with the Energy Commission have contracted a consultant to conduct feasibility studies into the possible sources of revenues to the fund, how it should be disbursed and the form the entire fund should take.

The feasibility studies are funded by the European Commission (EC), according to Professor Abeeku Brew-Hammond, the Board Chairman of the Energy Commission.

Revenues from the fund are among other things, finance research into the development, generation and transmission of renewable energy – power generated from non-finite resources such as biomass, the sun and wind – to a large chuck of the populace, he added.

Professor Brew-Hammond disclosed this to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on the side lines of the West Africa Clean Energy and Environment (WACEE) Exhibition and Conference which ended last Thursday in Accra.

The conference and exhibition brought together experts in clean and renewable energy to showcase their products and share ideas on how Ghana can exploit and make good use of her numerous renewable energy resources for the benefit of industry and the economy as a whole.

“We have realised that on their own, renewable energy generation is more expensive than that of non-renewable energy and so that in itself discourages companies from investing to generate it.”

“So if you want to promote the use of, say, solar energy, then somebody needs to pick up the additional cost to be incurred in generating it,” Professor Brew Hammond who doubles as the Director of the Energy Center at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) said.

The country currently relies heavily on non-renewable energy generated mostly from water and fuel with plans underway to increase renewable energy usage to 10 per cent by 2020.

Indications are that the establishment of the fund which is in line with the demands of the Ghana Renewable Energy Act, 2011 (Act 832) will help realise the country’s vision 2020 on renewable energy generation and usage.

“We are not sure of who should provide revenues into the fund and how those resources should be used. We are looking whether or not the fund should be used to subsidise renewable energy for consumers, fund awareness creation on renewable energy generation and usage or it should support people wishing to invest in the generation and transmission of renewable energies. These are the areas the feasibility study will look at,” the board chairman of the Energy Commission said.

He mentioned that those studies could be concluded by January next year to enable the fund come into being in February 2013.

“Having a renewable energy fund can boost investments in the country because businesses will be assured of rely and energy for their businesses. Remember too that the world is moving away from non-renewable energy and we here must do same,” Professor Brew-Hammond added.