According to Benjamin Boakye the Deputy Executive Director for Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), the country is sitting on a time bomb particularly where all the promised power generation additions in 2015 failed toreach its full potentials. As explained by Benjamin Boakye, it is intriguing how 1900MW of power was able to stabilize the demand for power from the grid, peaked at 2,100MW in 2014 and projected by Energy Commission to reach 2300MW in 2015.It however important to note that this demand stateddoes not cover demand from Valco, which requires about 350MW to operate fully, under-estimating the projections in the demand for power, estimated to grow at 12% in 2015.
Considering the expected generation in 2016 tobe 580MW (KTPP – 220MW + Asogli Phase 2 – 360MW), total available generation will be less than the projected peak demand of 2,600MW. This situation therefore creates a need to add the Nuclear Power as part of a wider project of complementing the country’s two main energy sources being hydro and thermal electricity.
According to the press release by the Ministry of Energy on Thursday July 2, 2015 upon Nuclear power receiving legal backing, Ghana would be the second in Africa after South Africa to produce electricity from nuclear energy, producing 700MW of electricity in the first phase and then 1,000MW in subsequent years.
As the economy grows, rapid urbanization, population surges as well as lifestyles changes, so as the demand for electricity over the yearshas increased peaking at a range of1,980-2,300 MW as at 2015. Government and key stakeholders havetherefore seen the need to increase supplyto meet this increasing demand.
It is in this light that the need for Ghana to consider additional sources of power was realized, introducing nuclear power as one of such. Therefore, in the year 2002, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) drafted a Nuclear Power Policy for the introduction of Nuclear Power for electricity generation in Ghana. Again, in the year 2015 the Government of Ghana gave legal backing to GAEC for the generation nuclear power to complement power demands of the country.
CHALLENGE AND END RESULTS
One will ask that, why did it take so long a time for the drafted policy to be given legal backing? After a need was realized in 2002 and projections made for the Nuclear Power Plant to be commissioned in 2018, it took eighteen (18) years for the policy to be given legal backing, making earlier projections impossible for the implementations, exposing time lag as a challenge.
Considering the time interval between when the need was realized and legal backing given, there has been demand in power especially from other sources. This is evident from the continuous increase in demand for power due to economic growth, urbanization, population and changes in lifestyle as againstainadequate supply of power resulting in frequent power outages popularly known as “Dumsor” in the country.
The inadequate supply of power popularly called “Dumsor” has led to the folding up of several businesses and others moving from Ghana to neighbouring countries. And has deprived the nation of income in the form of taxes. According to the Institute Of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Ghana loses about US$2.2 million daily and US$686.4 million annually due to the power crisis- “Dumsor”.
Also, with this time lag, the location characteristics of the Nuclear Power Plant has been a problem because most of the suitable sites that could have been available at the time the need was realized has been encroached due to increased population growth.Therefore, the bureaucracy that characterized the legal backing of the Nuclear Power in Ghana has been a major challenge to its implementation.
President John DramaniMahamareiterated in the 2016 state of the nation’s address Ghana’s vision to become a net exporter of power in the foreseeable future. Ghana provides electricity to neighboring countries like Benin and Togo and this could be an opportunity to increase it. With the addition of Nuclear Power to the generation grid, the power demands of other African countries can be met.
When this is achieved, foreign investors will then come knocking on the doors of Ghana to invest due to the stable power supply that will enhance the smooth operation of their businesses, increasing the income base of the nation through taxes.
This will then consolidateGhana’s lowermiddle income economy statussince the energy bottlenecks would be eliminated. This means that most Ghanaians will have the incentive to venture into entrepreneurship which is the future to Ghana’s development as stated by ISSER in their periodic economic bulleting 2015. This will become a reality because, thepower that will be needed by businesses and householdswill be stable and less costly due to multiple sources of electricity with the nuclear power complementing the already existing hydro, thermal and solar sources, leading to a higher total power supply that will met the power demands of Ghana and even that of many African countries, making the vision of Ghana becoming a power net exporter a reality.
There is no doubt that nuclear power is not a cheap venture for Ghana. But considering the prospects that Ghana is likely to gain out of it, it is economically rational that the nation considers it as an additional source of power. I strongly believe that with the expertise we have to execute the project, Ghana will soon be the “Country of Lights”, springing up several developmental ventures and then eliminating the problem of power rationing called “Dumsor” that has stifled growth.
Author: Mr. Godlove Kwabena Quaicoo
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