The parliament in Ghana recently passed a Renewable Energy Law that is intended to improve the country’s energy security as well as to promote renewable energy generation. The law establishes a feed-in tariff scheme to guarantee the sale of electricity generated from renewable energy at a tariff that will ensure cost recovery (the actual tariff rates have not yet been set).
The Renewable Energy Law places a renewable energy purchase obligation on utilities and bulk customers. And it provides for a Green Energy Fund to be combined with fiscal incentives to help develop renewable energy sources. The Green fund is being planned with financial institutions and bilateral and multilateral development partners.
“Implementation of the Green fund within the context of the Renewable Energy Law and all its other components will put Ghana firmly on the road to setting a truly remarkable example for the rest of Africa to follow,” Emmanuel Armah-Kofi-Buah, the Deputy Minister for Energy, told a conference at the end of 2010.
Ghana has already reformed its electricity sector, separating out the national transmission company, GridCo, from publicly-owned generation companies and publishing a grid code that provides independent power producers with transparent rules of access to the grid.
The renewable energy feed-in tariffs and incentives could help companies like Rajkumar Impex one of the largest players in the global cashew market and a major exporter of cashew nuts from Ghana. Rajkumar Impex plans to invest US$9 million to build a 5MW biomass plant beside its new processing operations in Techiman in Ghana.
The company has been shipping around 23,000 tonnes a year from Ghana to India. Transporting each of the 1,600 food containers from West Africa to Indian processing plants takes about 40 days. . Because the nuts are transported in their shells and the shells are discarded on arrival, more than 80% of the transported material is waste. Opening a processing plant in Ghana will speed up processing and ease access to key markets for cashews in Europe and the Americas.
New export commodity
Biomass is also becoming a major export commodity from Ghana. London-based Africa Renewables Ltd (AfriRen) has secured an order for 750,000 tonnes of waste rubberwood chips from plantations in Ghana, to be delivered to Verdo Group’s 140MW heat-and-power plant at Randers in Denmark. While much of the rubberwood chips will be consumed at the former coal power plant, Verdo also expects to develop a trade in the chips with companies in other parts of Europe. Prior to this deal the rubberwood trees that are beyond their productive life would have been burned. All trees will be replaced by new plantings. Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd, the source of the rubberwood, is developing a 5-hectare site near the port of Takoradi to handle the rubberwood chips. The first shipment is expected to leave Ghana this November. Biomass export from Ghana and other states in Africa to Europe is set to become big business. AfriRen aims to grow its West African annual biomass production to 500,000 tonnes in the next four years. A report by the UK-based Guardian newspaper found 3.2 million hectares across Africa that had either been acquired or was associated with the biofuel market. (The largest identified landholding was 900,000 hectares in Mali, Guinea and Senegal acquired by Crest Global Green Energy.)
The world’s first biomass exchange opened on 3 November. The exchange has been developed jointly by energy exchange APX-ENDEX and the Port of Rotterdam. Hans Smits, Chief Executive of the Port of Rotterdam Authority foresees a market for two to three million tonnes of biomass by 2025.Log in to post comments