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Business News of Friday, 19 February 2021

Source: GNA

There is low adoption of renewable energy among SMEs - ACEP

Africa Centre for Energy Policy Africa Centre for Energy Policy

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) says there is low patronage of Renewable Energy (RE) among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which deprives them of the benefits of the technology.

ACEP observed that about 89% of SMEs relied on conventional sources of power with 11% opting for fuel-powered generation as primary source of power; with secondary source of power, 60% relying on diesel power generators while only 5% used renewable energy sources. 35% had no backup source of power.

This was made known to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in a Zoom presentation on Tuesday by the Policy Lead—Climate Change and Energy Transition, ACEP, during which he presented the findings of a survey conducted on how SMEs in Ghana had adopted RE in their work.

Charles Gyamfi Ofori observed that this lack of will to go into RE was as a result of some barriers to its adoption, which included high investment cost, limited credit, weak incentives from government, and limited knowledge on renewable energy technologies.

He indicated regulations on net metering was yet to be developed, there was a high registration and license renewal fees, and bureaucracies in obtaining permits as some governmental regulations that affected the decision of SMEs to use renewable energies.

Other hindrances he cited included, “The absence of market data on renewables, no available information on demographic areas of opportunities to help shape strategies, and inadequate information on the renewable energy initiatives.”

There is also limited knowledge on the impact of Renewable Energy on environmental sustainability, Mr Ofori indicated.

The Policy Lead said opportunities for RE adoption by SMEs existed because renewable energy technology (solar and wind) was getting cheaper, there was the advantage of net metering, the growing local capacity for installation and management of the RE systems in Ghana, and the contribution of RE to environmental sustainability.

Mr. Ofori observed that electricity was essential to the operations of SMEs to power their machines for manufacturing, processing and packaging, and for administrative and data management operations, therefore “access to reliable and affordable supply of power is essential for SMEs ability to apply technology to their operations.”

“Self-generating options primarily with diesel-powered generators, solar plants and other forms of renewable energy technologies have, however, not only proven to be stable and cheaper in the long term, but also contribute to environmental sustainability, “ he assured.

In another presentation, the Corporate Relations Manager at CalBank, Abraham Djani, set the tone for Green Financing at CalBank, which looked at financial options for SMEs and suppliers of Renewable Energy in the RE adoption process.

Mr. Djani indicated, that there were numerous financial opportunities for Corporate, SME’s and Individuals in Green Financing. “CarlBank understands the environmental and social benefits of going green and is therefore committed to play an active role in the transition from non-renewable energy to green energy,” he informed.

Mr. Djani said CalBank PLC was therefore a partner which was willing to collaborate with her clients for growth, adding, “We care about the environment; let us cooperate to save it for our mutual benefit.”

The Executive Director of ACEP, Ben Boakye, in an opening remark before the presentations, observed that there was the need to create “space where the regulators would be willing to listen and provide needed information that cuts out bureaucracies that industries faced to ensure that we could genuinely give options to people on what technology they want to adapt.”

Mr. Boakye informed that advancing the economics of the renewable technologies would open up a whole new market and employment avenues and the opportunities to develop the technologies locally.