The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) has organized a two-day training programme for civil society organizations (CSOs) and media actors to address the gap in disseminating and engaging the public in Ghana’s energy transition framework.
The training was held in Koforidua, to provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of the existence of a national energy transition framework, reasons for transitioning, and how Ghanaians could contribute to the energy transition conversation.
Dr. Alex Ampaabeng, Senior Economic Analyst at NRGI, said that the world’s dependence on fossil fuels was gradually shifting to cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear, which were all environmentally friendly.
He said the reasons for the transition were that human activities such as deforestation and the use of fossil fuels (petrol and diesel) had caused environmental pollution, the release of toxic substances and gases into the atmosphere, and that the climate had suffered as a result.
This had caused changes in rainfall patterns and unusual environmental events, he said, and that it was therefore essential for Ghanaians to reduce emissions “so that we can sustain our livelihoods.”
To facilitate the development of Ghana’s energy transition plan, the government established a National Energy Transition Committee in December 2021.
The committee was tasked to evaluate the current condition of the country’s energy sector, the effectiveness of existing policies and measures, develop national objectives and targets for the transition, and prescribe policies and measures to accomplish these targets.
The Committee was also assigned the task of assessing the benefits, risks, and costs of the global energy transition and determining risk mitigation measures, as well as addressing cross-cutting issues.
Following countrywide stakeholder consultations, Ghana’s Energy Transition Framework was developed, unveiled in Egypt, and featured at an event during the first week of COP27.
The Ministry of Energy’s website has also published highlights and an abridged version of the framework.
Mr. Denis Gyeyir, Africa Programme Officer at NRGI, explained that Ghana’s energy transition plan would guide the country’s transition from fossil fuel to renewable or clean energy.
He stated that the pathways were outlined in the Energy Transition Framework, with a number of targets, such as 70 percent penetration of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) use by households and 20 percent electricity generation from renewables, with a goal of reaching net zero by 2070.
Speaking on the challenges of the transitioning process, Mr. Gyeyir stated that it would have an impact on communities, women using fuel wood for cooking, transition minerals exploitation, gas financing and infrastructure, petroleum sector revenues, and the sustainability of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
He said one government proposal to address the risks of the transition was to accelerate the development of the petroleum hub corporation, which includes the construction of three refineries and five petrochemical plants.
This will necessitate a significant financial investment, and GNPC has already spent $6 million on the Petroleum Hub Project.
He warned that these may not pay off in the medium to long term, particularly given that major economies had set 2030 targets for transition.
He said major economies were increasing their manufacturing capacity for electric vehicles and Ghana being an importer was already on the receiving end of the electric vehicles, noting that information from the energy ministry already indicated there were already nearly 2,000 electric vehicles in Ghana.
Ghana must therefore set its transition targets mindful of technological innovations in renewable energy, domestic resource availability and the need to carve a niche for itself as the world transitions.
Ghana must also pay attention to developing its critical minerals potential not for export, but creating local value chains that would feed into the green economy.
Government’s plan to use gas as a transition fuel must be situated within its domestic gas reserves available, and the investment requirements to produce this gas, build processing plants and transport infrastructure among other considerations.
Members of the National Energy Transition Committee, Civil Society Organization on Oil and Gas Platform (CSPOG), Act Africa, Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), Daily Graphic, Ghana News Agency, UTV, TV3 and the rest attended the workshop.
Mr. Noble Wadzah, Coordinator of Oil Watch Ghana, suggested that Ghana’s Energy Transition Framework be incorporated into the overall Energy policy.
“The transition framework must not be viewed in isolation. There should be a comprehensive document that situates the entire energy transition framework within the larger Ghana Energy Policy, so that whoever chooses the Energy policy can navigate around the entire Energy policy.”