Strengthening Ghana’s power sector
Electricity in Ghana grew especially scarce in recent years. Several times a day, the power would shut off. Local business and government offices would lose internet access and health clinics would lose power, leaving life-saving vaccines unrefrigerated and prone to spoilage.
Several causes were responsible for the power supply shortages, including an over-reliance on hydroelectric power–limited in cases of severe drought–and erratic gas supplies. Such challenges threatened to keep the country from thriving economically.
Climate change, particularly increases in temperature, also posed new challenges to Ghana’s emerging power sector. Storm surges from more intense storms could damage coastal power plants and transmission lines. In short, without a proper plan in place to expand, diversify, and build resilience into power infrastructure, Ghana’s emerging economy was particularly vulnerable to existing and future threats from climate change.
Together with USAID, we helped the government of Ghana design an energy infrastructure plan that incorporates climate resilience and adaptation. The plan outlined a strategy to lower carbon emissions through technologies such as renewable energy and protect energy infrastructure from extreme weather fueled by climate change. This approach would save the government roughly $300 million over 10 years.
Underpinning the new plan, we leveraged state-of-the-art climate modeling to project several high-likelihood phenomena. By mid-century, Ghana’s average annual temperature is expected to increase by 1.2 to 1.7 degrees Celsius, and sea levels to rise by about 1.3 to 2.3 feet. In addition to threatening lives and livelihoods, such outcomes will trigger higher storm surges that damage power plants, substations, and transmission lines in the coastal zone.
Throughout this project, we worked closely with key institutions, including the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Energy Commission, Electricity Company of Ghana, Volta River Authority, Grid Company of Ghana, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, and Northern Electricity Distribution Company to achieve positive results.
Today, those agencies are equipped with a plan to make their efforts sustainable. The power sector now coordinates on future strategies that consider various risks and resilience measures, especially related to climate change. As a result, nine energy institutions in Ghana have seen improved capacity since implementing ICF’s plan.
In addition, we built the capacity of the government of Ghana to implement and update the plan over time:
- 19 officers in the Ghana power sector trained in ICF’s Integrated Planning Model
- 7+ energy audits conducted on key facilities
- 35 officers trained in climate change risks, adaptation, and resilience
- Over 560 persons in the Ghanaian power sector agencies participated in related project activities, including the trainings in 22 districts across the western region of Ghana
“On behalf of the executive director and management of EPA, as well as the team from the EPA climate change unit, we would like to express our profound gratitude to … the entire ICF/IRRP team for the technical and financial support offered us, which helped the EPA train its regional and area officers on climate change issues. From all indications, we could confidently say the training workshop was a success. No wonder participants requested certificates after the training." — Antwi-Boasiako Amoah, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) climate change division
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