Ghana must industrialise before investing in solar, other renewables – Former GRIDCo Boss 

By Edward Acquah

Koforidua (E/R), April 08, GNA- Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo), says investment in renewable energy, including solar is not a viable option to drive Ghana’s industrialisation agenda.  

He said in the wake of the intermittent power challenges, the country should focus on establishing a “very big” base load such as a nuclear power plant that would offer reliable and affordable power to champion massive industrialisation for development. 

Mr Amoako-Baah, a former Board Member of the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI) under the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), made the call when some Staff members and Management of the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) paid a courtesy call on him at his residence in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.  

The visit was heralded by a tour of the Boti Falls in the Eastern Region as part of NPG’s activities to commemorate the Ghana Heritage Month. 

Mr Amoako-Baah said the country required “conventional plants” as baseload to guarantee a reliable supply of power for industries.  

He said in the wake of the depletion of the country’s hydro resources, nuclear power remained the viable option to power Ghana’s industrialisation plan in the long term. 

“Renewables cannot power the industries; Tema Steel or VALCO is a case in point. VALCO takes about 345MWe. How much renewable can you put to generate such power considering the intermittent nature of renewable and capacity factors? In the night and during some seasons, you do not have the sun to power the solar panels. The wind is also not consistent. 

“You need a very big baseload plant; conventional plants like hydro (which has been used up); thermal or nuclear. Nuclear is the new thing now,” he said. 

Mr Amoako-Baah called for the active continuation of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme to enable the country to achieve the target of building and operating the first nuclear power plant in the near future. 

“The work must continue for us to be able to establish the first nuclear power plant by 2030. Government should pay attention to this,” he said. 

Energy experts estimate that beyond 2025, Akosombo and Kpong Hydropower Plants, the nation’s baseload supply points which currently serve 32 per cent of electricity demand, would have reduced drastically to about 25 per cent. 

Ghana in its quest to access affordable and stable power to industrialise sustainably as well as to meet the global energy transition from fossil fuel to clean energy, is seeking to include nuclear power in its energy mix. 

The deployment of nuclear power in Ghana is also in line with the country’s medium-term development plans and climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. 

The decision is also part of the country’s Green Energy Solutions targets and the government’s medium to long-term strategy of actualising industrialisation and socio-economic development within the West African sub-region. 

Dr Stephen Yamoah, the Executive Director of NPG, said meetings and discussions with vendors for Ghana’s nuclear power plant would continue this year. 

He said the NPG under the policy direction of the Ministry of Energy had targeted taking “firm decisions” on the technology, the financing arrangements, and the project structure this year. 

“We have really advanced and the target this year is to be able to come out with a decision on the vendor and the technology… I am certain,” Dr Yamoah said.