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21.07.2005 General News

Energy Ministry explores sources of alternative power

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Accra, July 21, GNA - Professor Michael Ocquaye, Energy Minister, on Thursday said a Junior Secondary School (JSS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS) Solar PV Project, which began last year, aims at installing solar PV systems in 130 JSS and SSS located in remote areas throughout the country

"The Objective of the programme is to assists the beneficiary students to study at night and more importantly to have access to the President's Special Initiative on Distance Learning. "This project is in progress and so far more than 120 installations have been carried out," the Minister told Parliament in response to a question on what efforts were being made to secure alternative renewable sources of energy for the country.

He said the Ministry was also carrying out some work to implement a solar PV electrification project for remote areas where it was not possible to extend the National Electricity Grid. Prof Ocquaye said areas to be covered under this project included 1,100 schools and 400 health centres.

He said in order to enhance security in the country, security outposts of the Police, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service and Immigration Service in remote areas would benefit from solar PV power. He said the Ministry was currently, sourcing for funds to implement the Project.

On wind power, the Minister said there was some collaboration going on with a private investor to establish a 50 MW wind farm in the Tema District to generate electricity into the national grid.

"A memorandum of understanding has been executed to that effect. Currently, the sourcing of financing is in progress.

"The Energy Commission has also recently completed a study to map out wind resources in Ghana. This is to facilitate the exploitation of these resources through private or public-private partnership," the Minister Prof Ocquaye said.

Prof Ocquaye said the Ministry of Energy, with support from the Japanese Government, was undertaking a master plan study to support policy formulation and the development of an Action Plan, for utilising renewable energy for rural electrification in Northern Ghana. He said a similar study would be carried out in the rest of country and this would provide a road map for mainstreaming renewable energy into the country's rural electrification programme.

Prof Ocquaye said the Ministry was creating an environment to support the promotion and development of renewable energy through various means such as tax incentives for importation of specific renewable energy equipment.

In response to another question on when work would start in some communities in the Sefwi Akontombra Constituency under SHEP-4 and be connected to the national grid, the Minister said, the SHEP-4 project involved the connection of over 2,000 communities to the national electricity grid.

He said the project would cost 350 million dollars and would be accomplished in phases over a period of five years when funding was available.

The Minister said 36 communities in the Sefwi Wiawso District would be connected to the grid under subsequent phases of the project in line with implementation schedule and the availability of funds.

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