Ghana is expected to make some progress in green energy as Parliament has passed into law the Bui Power Authority (Amendment), Bill 2020.
The Bill is expected to empower the Bui Power Authority to develop renewable energy and other clean energy alternatives in the country.
The Bill was laid in the House on Friday, 30th October, 2020 by the Deputy Minister for Energy Joseph Cudjoe on behalf of the Minster John Peter Amewu and thereafter referred by the Speaker to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report in accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution and Order 118 of the House’s Standing Orders.
Explaining the genesis of the Bill to the House, the Minister stated that the Government of Ghana in 2007 established the Bui Power Authority through the enactment of the Bui Power Authority Act, 2007 (Act 740) with the mandate to develop a hydroelectric power project on the Black Volta at Bui and any potential hydroelectric power site on the Black Volta River.
He further stated that the Authority has demonstrated enough institutional capacity in the area of renewable energy and successfully extended hydropower initiatives but its continuous investment and development of renewable energy has been questioned by auditors on several occasions as unlawful regarding the huge expenditure in an area which falls outside the scope of its mandate.
The Ministry of Energy consequently presented the Bill to address this anomaly and to also give legal backing to the Authority to execute and manage certain renewable energy projects and any other clean energy alternatives for the purpose of generating electric power.
The Chairman of the Committee, Emmanuel Akwasi Gyamfi presenting the Committee’s report said the Committee was informed that the Ministry of Energy has in the past three years mandated the Bui Power Authority to spearhead the development of the renewable energy sector because of the sound technical and financial capacity it has acquired since the commencement of its operations.
The Committee Chairman disclosed that Government has accordingly directed the Authority to establish the Owner/Operator Company for the country’s Nuclear Energy Programme (NEP) and to be a major a stakeholder of the Nuclear Power Ghana Limited (NPG) together with the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).
The Committee noticed that these additional responsibilities were not within the scope of the existing mandate of the Authority under Act 740 but that the proposed amendments would address the anomaly by offering legal backing to the Authority to support the government in the pursuit of its objectives of developing the renewable energy sector and other clean energy alternative sources.
The Committee further observed the power off-taker arrangement provided for under Act 740 which committed the Authority to sell its power generated solely to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is being amended under the proposed law to enable the Authority execute power purchase agreements directly with other utility companies or customers, he indicated.
It, therefore, concluded that amending the Act would therefore enable the Authority to engage other utilities or companies to address potential idle capacity issues in circumstances where ECG is unable to off-take all the power generated and introduce competition in the supply market which will ultimately result in an increased revenue accrual to the Authority.
The passage of the bill shows some level of commitment to renewable energy. Some institutions had called on government to demonstrate more commitment to the sector. One of such is the Institute of Energy Security, IES.
The institute had earlier indicated that the NPP and the NDC parties had made provision for renewable energy in their respective manifestos but the energy think tank believes such promises are not enough.
Ghana failed to meet its initial target of universal electricity access by 2020 and also failed to meet its 10 percent deployment of renewable energy by 2020 target.
The Institute for Energy Security believes a lot more has to be done if Ghana is to make big strides in the renewable energy space.