Ghana, others to benefit from US power project (September 21, 2013) spread

 
The United States Government has launched an initiative to double access to power supply in six sub-Saharan African countries, including Ghana.
The project is also expected to build the capacities of their respective power regulators, including the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Ghana Grid Company.

Known as Power Africa, the project tackles one of the most critical challenges to sustainable economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa – access to electrical power.

As part of the project, the US Government is providing more than $7 billion to support investment in the energy sector, in the next five years in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Liberia.

Apart from building on the continent’s huge power potential, the scheme is expected to increase reforms in the energy sector as well as investment into sustainable and clean energy sources including solar, wind and geothermal.

Financed by 12 US agencies, Power Africa is expected to increase to 10,000 megawatts power generation in the beneficiary countries over the next five years and increase the number of people with access to electricity to 20 million.

Key investments Ghana will benefit from include a General Electric commitment to bring on line 5,000 megawatts of new affordable energy through the provision of its technologies and capital, an African Finance Corporation $250 million in the power sectors of Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria  and a USAID  $285 million in technical support, grants and risk management

At a roundtable discussion on the initiative in Accra, Mr Andrew Herscowitz, the Co-ordinator for Power Africa and Trade Africa, said “being a Power Africa country is a stamp of approval from the international community, the United States Government and the business community.

Ghana’s energy policy

The county’s energy policy is to increase the current installed power generation capacity from about 2,000 megawatts (MW) to 5,000 MW by 2015 and electricity access from the present 66 per cent to universal access by 2020.

The policy also aims at increasing the proportion of renewable energy in the total national energy mix and ensure its efficient production and use.

Mr Herscowitz said while the exact number of households to benefit from the project was not immediately available; the project would eliminate the impediment to investment.

On the need to invest in different energy mix, he said, “Even though solar may not be as competitive today, as it could be with gas, if you look at where it was 20 years ago, the cost has come down by some 400 per cent within the last four years.

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