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17.04.2007 General News

Consult Well On Nuclear Energy Usage

A Member of the German Parliament and a Renewable Energy Advocate, Dr Axel Berg, has suggested to Ghana to take a decision on using nuclear energy only on extensive consultations with all stakeholders and people of the country.

Dr Berg said nuclear energy had its own challenges that even developed countries were finding difficulty grappling with and that Ghana's decision to go nuclear should be well-informed.

He was speaking at an informal round-table discussion organised by the Ghana German Economic Association (GGEA), an association working to promote business interests between Ghana and Germany.

Dr Berg, who is also the deputy Spokesman on Energy Policy for the SPD Parliamentary Group, noted that Ghana abounded in many renewable energy sources, which when harnessed, would enable it to solve its current energy problem.

“There are enormous avenues in the country to solve the problems. We should discuss together with the people of Ghana, set a target and the deadline needed to attain it,” he advised.

The German MP said the country should also use policies to control the extent of energy consumption in the country.

Dr Berg outlined some of the policy directions as controlling the type of cars imported in the country such that only fuel-efficient vehicles would be allowed in, adding that the country should not attempt to ban any particular product, but to set benchmarks for people to conform to.

He said it was also time to pay the right tariffs for energy to encourage investment in maintenance and expansion as well as to cut waste.

According to him, people have the tendency to misuse energy or waste them if they paid less tariffs.

Other panellists, mostly dealers in energy products or experts, also called for realistic tariffs as the surest way of salvaging the country's energy problem.

“Energy is still too cheap in Ghana. Realistic tariffs rather encourage energy efficiency and conservation. When it continues to be cheap, there is waste, said Mr Samuel Adu-Asare, Manager of the Global Sustainable Energy Solutions Ghana Ltd, an energy policy consultancy firm.

The Chief Executive Officer of DENG Limited, Mr Chris Munteanu, said the Volta River Authority (VRA) should consider buying excess power from private individuals and companies and feed them into the national grid.

He said the country should invest in the system that could facilitate that interface, contending that that would save the country the trouble of importing new generators.

Mr Munteanu, whose company deals in solar energy and diesel generators, said using solar panels to generate huge amounts of energy was expensive but there were other economical sources such as steam, that were possible in the country.

The panel also called on the country to have policies on renewable energy sources. For example, that all water heaters should be solar powered.

The President of the GGEA, Mr Stephen Antwi, said the association was interested in the economic prospects of the country hence it organised such periodic meetings.

“We will want to use Germany as the gateway to Europe and want Germany to see Ghana as its gateway to West Africa,” Mr Antwi proposed.

He announced plans by the association to work towards deepening trade between Ghana and Germany to about a billion euros by 2010.

Story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey