Ghana: Meeting Power Demand will Boost Economy by 4%

A total of about 494 million USD has been reported by the Ghana Energy Outlook as a needed amount required to generate natural gas which is currently facing a demand deficit of about 65,000 Million Standard Cubic Feet (MMSCF) out of the estimated 120,000 – 146,000 MMSCF natural gas which will be needed to fuel the various thermal plants in Ghana this year.

Authored by the chief energy policy advisor to the government, The Energy Commission, the Ghana Energy Outlook mentions that, for the country to meet its power demand for the year 2-016, over 1.18 billion USD is needed to purchase fuel – including natural gas, fuel oil, diesel and light crude oil to fire thermal plants in Ghana.

With increasing drift to dependency on thermal power generation and dwindling local fuel prices, tariffs for electricity provision for the country is increasing – with recent loud complains of most people over high electricity and water bills as well as fuel prices. Currently, Ghana is sourcing about 30 per cent of its energy from hydro power generation and other sources – including solar. The remaining 70 per cent is generated from thermal power which has increased Ghana’s demand for fuel than previously – where the Akosombo Dam’s hydro power generation was the leading supplier. In recent decades, the rate of production at the Akosombo dam has reduced – there are still existing hypothesis that poor infrastructure maintenance and ecological factors such as climate change is responsible for Ghana’s low performance at Akosombo Dam hydro power station. The Energy Commission which is the responsible agency tasked to monitor and ensure that energy demands are met, has also admitted that if not for the low performance of the Akosombo Dam, load shedding would have been ratified at a very early stage of Ghana’s power crisis.

Additionally, increase in population, urbanization and modernization has also called for an increase in the country’s total energy demand which has resulted in a long era of power shortages and load shedding in Ghana. This has affected a number of businesses and has contributed to high unemployment in the country. According to the Energy Commission, the ideal 2016 energy requirement for Ghana is estimated as at least about 16,000 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity – about 8 per cent higher than demand of the previous year. Per their statistics, if this demand is met, it holds the potential to boost the country’s economy to about 4 per cent. Also, the commission highlighted that despite increase in demand, there have been relatively positive improvements in 2016 which should reduce the current power shortages.

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