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Energy Commission to encourage solar power usage in northern Ghana

By GNA
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Energy Commission to encourage solar power usage in northern Ghana

February 10, 2010
Gwollu (UWR), Feb. 10, GNA - The Energy Commission would take advantage the huge sunshine in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions to establish solar power factories to provide electricity for the people.

Such a move would help empower people in the communities to undertake cottage industries such shea butter extraction and the establishment of fruits juice factories to improve the livelihoods of the people.

Professor Abeeku Brew-Hammond, Board Chairman of the Energy Commission said this during a three-day tour of some districts in the Upper West Region with members of the Board and staff of the Commission to access the electricity needs of the people and to advise the government on their findings.

Professor Brew-Hammond, who unveiled the Commission's vision for the three regions, said other possible area that the commission would also explore as a cheaper source of providing electricity for the people would be the wind.

He however said that would be done after feasibility studies had been carried out to know the amount of wind available in the three regions.

The Board Chairman explained that without comprehensive and reliable electricity in the north, government's development agenda for the three regions would be minimal.

Professor Brew-Hammond suggested the establishment of a Rural Electrification Agency as an autonomous body with funding from donor agencies to take charge of providing adequate electricity for rural people and empowering them economically.

He advised district assemblies in the region to mobilise the people to establish individual and community woodlots to attract support from the Energy Fund to reduce desertification.

He said the Commission had written letters to Members of Parliament to compile the list of communities in their constituencies that had been connected to the national grid to enable the government to strategies and work assiduously to provide electricity to the other communities.

The Members toured Wa West, Nadowli, Jirapa and Sissala West Districts and interacted with the District Chief Executives to know from them the electricity situation in their districts.

At Wechiau, out of 214 communities in the Wa West District, only two communities had been connected with electricity and at Nadowli District 13 communities had been hooked to the electricity out of the 154 communities.

Twenty-eight communities in Jirapa District are enjoying power out of 138 communities and only 17 percent of the communities in the Upper West Region are enjoying electricity, while in the Wa East District no community is benefiting from electricity.

During the interactions, the district chief executives complained about the high cost of low tension poles which were beyond the finances of the district assemblies and appealed to government to take charge of providing them to the assemblies.

They also complained about the awarding of contracts to contractors from Accra to undertake rural electrification projects without the involvement of community members and district assemblies.

This, they explained, was creating misunderstanding and confusion in the communities and called on government to discourage the practice.

The practices had also led to contractors executing shoddy work and some abandoning their projects without the knowledge of members of the beneficiary communities, they contended.

GNA

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