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05.10.2002 Business & Finance

Netherlands assist Ghana to improve efficiency in energy

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A project to introduce energy efficiency into financing public energy bills took off in Ghana on Friday with a 240,000-dollar support to it from the Netherlands government. The project, which involves the retrofitting of 15 government buildings with energy efficient lighting systems and air conditioner controls is to be undertaken by the Energy Foundation. The technology works in a way that air conditioners and bulbs automatically switch off when there is no one in the offices. The buildings include that of the Ministries of Finance, Works and Housing, Local Government, Health, Environment, Tourism, Roads and Transport and Foreign Affairs. Others are Ministries of Education, The Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and the Accountant-General's Department.

The project is to build local capacity towards the preparation and implementation of Climate Change Mitigation projects that would qualify for external funding under the Kyoto Protocol.

The total project cost is 380,000 dollars out of which the government will contribute 140,000 dollars towards the purchase of the equipment.

At a ceremony to exchange Memorandum of Understanding in Accra, the Executive Director of Energy Foundation, Dr A.K. Ofosu-Ahenkorah expressed appreciation for the gesture since at one time the project had to be abandoned because of difficulties in securing funds and it also became clear that the local component would be difficult to secure.

Mr Ofosu-Ahenkorah said the project was the first project in Ghana under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

He said although technical work was completed long ago, "it was extremely difficult to get the necessary commitments from the operators of the various buildings with respect to the local financial component."

He said he was happy that the project is coming off and would be completed in 15 months, saying, "we cannot continue to waste energy and at the same time complain of high tariffs."

The project he noted would improve significantly power factor in seven of the buildings.

Mr Jaap Van Der Zeeuw, Deputy Netherlands Ambassador said the project will show that the Ghana government was serious with her policy and efforts to use the resources of the country efficiently and ensure that the project would be not only for the economy but financially attractive to the private sector.

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