Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia has said it is imperative that Ghana, including other developing countries, put in place comprehensive and viable plans to cater for the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
Vice President Bawumia said the costs associated with the continued use of fossil fuels as a driver of the economy, were too high and could even go higher.
He said the effects of global warming, primarily caused by the emission of greenhouse gases through the use of fossil fuels, were becoming evident, with the costs to humanity increasingly prohibitive.
Dr Bawumia made the call when he addressed the opening ceremony for a National Energy Transition Forum organised by the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with the Ministries of Transport, Finance, and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Accra.
Speaking under the theme: ‘Moving Ghana Towards A Net-Zero Future,” Vice President Bawumia said it was important that Ghana took actions to address the costs associated with it as soon as practicable, including costs arising from the transition from the use of fossil fuels to renewables.
He said it had become imperative that “we reduce emissions from production and the use of energy by replacing high emitting fuels, particularly fossils with sustainable fuels, such as renewables.”
It is estimated that the use of fossil fuels accounts for more than 80% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Although developing countries such as Ghana need that energy to improve their economies.
“We all have to be aware that this transition is going to take place over the next 30 years, but the costs of that transition are being felt today. There is less and less funding available for oil exploration and exploitation, and we are seeing this in an increase in oil prices globally, Dr Bawumia stated.
The Vice President said, ironically, developing countries were facing these high costs of petroleum prices the more.
“How do we as developing countries like Ghana adjust to this new reality, if it becomes a new normal of high oil prices and its impact on the macro variables in our respective economies? It is very clear that we need a plan,” he emphasized.
Ghana must seek to increase its natural gas-based electricity generation, Dr Bawumia indicated, explaining that the country would harness the use of her gas resources by expanding gas pipelines to key demand centres across the country and increasing access to LPG for cooking in households.
He said Ghana would increase the share of modern renewable energy (wind, solar, Waste to Energy, Small/Medium hydropower, hydrogen, etc.) in her national energy mix.
The government, Dr Bawumia noted would take steps to promote clean energy sources including biofuels, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Electric and Hydrogen fuels as fuels for vehicles and provide low-carbon and highly competitive energy supply to establish the country as an energy and e-mobility hub for the West African Sub-Region.”
To make Ghana’s transition even more effective, Vice President Bawumia proposed an ECOWAS-wide consultation and planning, given Ghana’s leading role in the provision of electricity and the similarity in dynamics in the sub-region.
“Our sub-region has similar challenges, and as a leader, in the provision of energy to our neighbours, any transition strategies adopted by Ghana will affect our sub-regional neighbours.
“I am, therefore, encouraging the Ministry of Energy to extend these consultations to our regional stakeholders to incorporate the risks and opportunities the transition offers us as a group.
“It is also perhaps important for ECOWAS to begin to consult on the need for a sub-regional energy transition plan based on our individual countries’ plans. As chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will champion this initiative of ensuring that the West African sub-regional area makes the best out of the global energy transition.”
The Minister for Energy, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, disclosed that five other fora would be held across the country to solicit stakeholder views to ensure a nationally-inclusive transition plan.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD