A Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor has hinted that Ghanaians will have to pay more for energy supply when the power barges government is importing arrive and begin functioning fully.
The emergency power barges government promised to ease the power crisis will arrive in Ghana in September 2015, the company building the barges, Karpowership Company limited has said.
The two barges are expected to supply the country with 450 megawatts of power to augment current generation capacity.
The Deputy Power Minister called for bipartisan solutions to the nation’s erratic power supply.
John Jinapor was speaking at the opening of the 29th Biennial Annual Conference of the Ghana Science Association at the Tamale City campus of the University for Development Studies.
The three days conference was on the theme, “Harnessing the alternative sources of energy for national development: Science and Technology to the rescue.”
The conference brought together Scientists, Non Governmental Organizations, policy makers, energy supply institutions, traditional rulers, students and some members of the Parliamentary Select Committees on Power, Energy, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor said hydro energy production was very expensive for which reason government will encourage Private-Public-Partnership for sustainable, reliable and adequate power supply.
He admitted that the nation’s erratic power supply known popularly as “Dumsor” had adversely affected productivity in every facet of the nation’s economy.
According to him, the nation eventually exhausted her hydro potentials and that government considered exploring coal and nuclear as alternative power sources.
The UDS Vice Chancellor, Professor Haruna Yakubu implied that Ghanaian Scientists have done the nation disservice in the wake of the energy crisis.
He therefore tasked them to shift from the paradigm of academic to technological research.
This in the estimation of Professor Haruna Yakubu could assist government to provide reliable and sustainable power alternatives to mitigate the nation’s energy crisis.
“I entreat us all to use this conference to seriously delve into the root cause of the energy crisis and offer meaningful alternative solutions as the theme suggest.”
He said the energy sector required long term planning and financing and thus challenged government to go the extra mile and fix the problem.
“It is not about VRA versus thermal plants or for that matter diesel generator versus solar: it is about Ghana having an energy mix that will serve the nation appropriately.”
He added, “We are all aware that there is nothing more important and needed by government and industry than reliable power at this time in our history: over the past two years the power crisis affecting Ghana has in no small way turned the clock of development backward.”
“I am convinced that the crisis on the performance of industry coupled with virtually no employment generated for the youth within the same period has significantly contributed to the economic challenges facing our nation,” Professor Yakubu bemoaned.
He commended government for establishing the Navrongo solar power system which he noted was yielding desired results.
“The Scientific community should assess the cost benefit of this undertaking so far and advise accordingly: I am certain that if this is done and done well similar projects could be promoted in several towns around the country.”
Professor Haruna Yakubu pleaded with the participants to dispassionately discuss the issues at hand.
“Significant recommendations made in the past by the GSA conferences have benefitted the country and made varied impacts: these recommendations were found useful in the formulation and implementation of policies and also in the establishment of relevant national institutions.”
Honorary National President of the Ghana Science Association (GSA), Professor Herbert K. Dei attributed the nation’s energy problem to over-reliance on hydro energy.
“For more than a decade the country has been grappling with intermittent power supply which has given cause for great concern regarding the state of the country’s energy sector: the power situation has worsened to the extent that businesses and industries are finding it difficult to keep afloat with consequent negative impact on the economy of the country and this situation has arisen largely because of our over-dependence on hydro-power.”
He gave the assurance that the association at the end of the conference will offer workable recommendations to help resolve the energy crisis.
“We believe that implementation of the recommendations that will be contained in our communiqué at the end of the conference by government and other stakeholders in the energy sector will go a long way in providing lasting solutions to the current energy crisis.”
Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Victor Agyemang complained about successive government’s apathy towards investing in Science and Research.
He impressed upon policy makers to consider the sector as a major priority.
Dr. Agyemang lamented, “The entire nation as we are all aware is saddled with a serious energy crisis which poses precarious challenges to the productivity and growth of our local industries in Ghana and also has implications for other sectors of the Ghanaian economy.”
He urged the Ghana Science Association to lead the crusade in promoting engineering and energy research.
“This occasion presents us with a unique opportunity as a scientific and learned association to review the performance of the current sources of energy available to the nation: take stock of the trend of the generation mix, provide solutions to consolidate and improve existing energy supply systems and develop both short and long term strategies towards generation of alternative sources of energy.”
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/Citifmonline.com/Ghana