Background on UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative
The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative is a global initiative that was launched by the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon in September 2011, to mobilise the UN system, governments, the private sector and civil society to take concrete action toward three critical objectives to be achieved by 2030:
1) ensuring universal access to modern energy services;
2) doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and
3) doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
The Government of Ghana recognises the potential of the SE4ALL initiative as a vehicle to drive the implementation of its National Energy Policy (2010) which has a goal to achieve: universal access to electricity by 2020; increase energy efficiency practices in residential, commercial and industrial applications; and 10% contribution of renewable energy in the electricity generation mix by 2020.
Hence, under the leadership of the Energy Commission and the then Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (now Ministry of Power and Ministry of Petroleum), key government ministries and agencies, civil society organisations, private actors and development partners were engaged to identify and prioritise high impact opportunity areas that would significantly contribute to the attainment of the objectives of SE4ALL and drive sustainable development in Ghana. Five SE4ALL high impact opportunities were selected, namely,
• Universal Adoption of Clean Cooking Solutions
• Off-Grid Lighting & Charging
• Sustainable Energy for Island Economies
• Clean Energy Mini-grids
• Productive Uses of Electricity
The Ghana Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Action Plan was developed and launched in May 2013 with technical support from UNDP, Ghana. Following a decision by SE4ALL stakeholders in Africa to refocus Action Plan documents into Action Agendas in December 2013, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) provided Technical Assistance to Ghana to reformulate our Action Plan to an Action Agenda.
High Impact Objectives for Ghana
The Ghana SE4ALL Action Plan focuses on three high-impact objectives for immediate action. These are as follows:
1. Provision of Off-Grid Renewable Energy-Based Power Solutions for Remote Communities
Despite grid electricity extension to unelectrified communities through the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP) and the National Electrification Scheme (NES), it is recognised that it is practically impossible to achieve universal access to modern energy services in Ghana by 2020 without harnessing some renewable energy resources. Ghana is well endowed with renewable energy (RE) resources particularly biomass, solar, wind energy and hydro resources. The development and use of renewable energy resources have the potential to ensure Ghana’s energy security and also mitigate the negative climate change impact of energy production and use, as well as solve urban and peri-urban sanitation problems. This will also accelerate government’s goal to attain 10% RE in the national energy mix by 2020. A total of five priority areas were identified by the Government of Ghana (that is Ministry of Power):
a) Mini-grid renewable energy electrification for off-grid communities
b) Solar home systems for homes in smaller/dispersed communities
c) Deployment of solar lanterns for remote off-grid communities
d) Solar for ICT in schools in remote communities
e) Solar for remote/river bank health facilities
2. Access to Modern Energy for Productive Uses
Through the SHEP and NES, major strides have been made in extending grid electricity to rural communities in Ghana, as a result of which over 70% of the country has access to electricity. For a variety of reasons however, the electricity provided has generally been used for domestic activities rather than income generating or productive uses. This has in some cases made it difficult for people to pay for their electricity consumption since it only adds a cost without any associated increase in income.
The Action Plan therefore aims to stimulate the use of electricity for income generating ventures to ensure the affordability and sustainability of increasing access. Productive uses of electricity interventions to be promoted include – grid-connected irrigation, solar PV powered irrigation, solar drying of agro-produce, aquaculture, etc.
3. Access to Modern Energy for Cooking
A majority of Ghanaians use solid fuels for cooking, and this has major negative impacts on the health of women and children, as well as accelerates the depletion of the country’s forests. The Action Plan therefore selects a two-pronged approach:-
a) a switch to LPG for all those who can afford it, and
b) a massive programme to promote the use of improved energy-efficient and low emission cookstoves for those who will continue to use biomass for cooking.
The full text of Ghana’s Country Action Plan for Sustainable Energy for All can be accessed here.