President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated a 6.5-megawatt (MW) solar power system at Lawra in the Upper West Region.
The project inaugurated over the weekend commenced in February, 2020 after the President had cut the sod.
It is said to be forming part of the first phase of the Renewable Energy Policy Programme designed by the Volta River Authority (VRA) in line with the government’s target of meeting the energy needs of Ghanaians.
Built on 6.13 hectares of land in the northern part of the Lawra township, the power plant has been provided with ancillary facilities such as a fully-equipped control room and a containerized substation.
Other facilities are a medium voltage switchgear and lines for transmitting power, PV lines, inverters and transformers.
Inaugurating the project, the President explained that as part of Ghana’s commitment to meet the global campaign for a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, the government was diversifying its energy sources, given the adequate sunshine in regions across the country.
He indicated that with the reduction in the cost of solar power development globally, Ghana was going to take advantage and construct a number of such plants to make use of the sunshine the nation had been blessed with and also reduce the greenhouse effect on climate.
“The Upper West has had its fair share of the solar power installation with two projects at Kaleo and Lawra and I am confident that the installation of the first grid-connected solar power plant will support local small- and medium-scale enterprises as well as other socio-economic activities,” he said.
The President announced that with the recruitment of 100 youth by the contractors, Elecnor S.A from Spain, the youth had been equipped with the skills on operating the plant and would be readily available to help with its maintenance.
“I am also encouraged that the VRA will ensure that this facility becomes a source for practical studies on solar power operations by the technical universities in the region of northern Ghana,” he said.
The Minister for Energy, Mr John-Peter Amewu, stated that “to meet Ghana’s commitments under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change, the Government would continue to promote implementation of grid-connected and off-grid renewable energy technologies”.
This, he said, was intended to increase renewable power generation by a total of 10 per cent by the year 2030 and increase installed capacity of small-to-medium-scale hydro power by 150-300 MW and utility-scale solar by 150-250MW by 2030.
He hinted that in view of protecting the climate, a Renewable Energy Amendment bill had been laid before Parliament for passing into law.
The minister said the bill sought to abolish the high-feed-in tariff scheme of renewable energies and compel fossil fuel producers as well as wholesale fossil fuel-based electricity suppliers to complement the global effort of climate change mitigation by investing in non-utility-scale renewable energy transmissions.
The Board chairman for the VRA, Mr Kweku Andoh Awotwi, said the VRA was committed to the vision of world leaders to power economies, raise living standards and promote sustainable environmental management.
He revealed that his outfit, together with the Ministry of Finance, was working with the German Government to conclude a 15-million-euro financing for the second phase of the project, which would see the installation of another 14MW utility-scale grid connected to photovoltaic power plants at Lawra and Kaleo.
The inaugurated power system was funded by Kreditanstait fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), a German Development Bank, with a loan of £22.8 million whereas the VRA contributed £8.12 million to fund the acquisition of land, payment of permits and licences, and Environmental and Social Impact, feasibility, and Grid Impact studies, as well as local taxes and import duties related to the project.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, LAWRA