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02.08.2005 General News

Ghana Faces Energy Crisis


Ghana would face an energy crisis soon if steps are not taken to reduce the ever increasing demand for fuel wood. The head of the Renewable Energy Unit of the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, who stated this in an interview yesterday said judging from the wanton consumption of fuel wood in the country,

...the fact that the yield was decreasing while demand was increasing with fuel wood being the most used energy source in the country, there could be an energy crisis as a result of wood forest depletion. He said currently, only 6.2 per cent of the entire population used Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), adding that about 94 per cent or more than 16.8 million people used traditional fuel such as charcoal, firewood and crop residue, despite their inconvenience, because they were cheap.

He said statistics at the ministry of trade and industry pointed to the fact that charcoal exports had increased by 39 per cent from 3.5 million kilograms in 2002 to 4.6million kilogrammes currently and added that the situation was alarming. He said even if the country increased the availability of gas, the situation was not likely to improve because majority of Ghanaians could not afford to pay for LPG.

Mr. Ahiataku-Togobo said Ghana had no petroleum products of its own and that the LPG which was being sold was the residue of fuel imported into the country, adding that it was highly subsidized. If we need to increase the availability of LPG in the country, then we have to import, which is very expensive, he added.

"We do not have the resources to increase LPG usage in house holds to about 20 per cent. We just cannot afford it," he noted. Mr. Ahiataku-Togobo said the only way to deal with the situation was to regulate the use and export of charcoal to ensure that the forests were not depleted. He also said there was the need to encourage efficient utilization of charcoal and firewood though improved wood stoves such as Gyapa and Ahibenso, as well as the encouragement of efficient charcoal production techniques.