Renewable Energy Potential

Ghana is looking to diversify its power resources, as its current reliance on hydropower makes it particularly vulnerable to droughts. As part of the renewable energy targets, the government has set the following objectives for renewable energy:

  • 150-300 MW of small and medium hydro
  • two million solar lanterns
  • 30,000 solar home systems
  • 20-26 MW of utility-scale biomass and waste energy capacity
  • 150-250 MW of utility-scale wind and 50-150 MW of utility-scale solar capacity

 

Physical potential

Average solar irradiation ranges from 4.5-6.0 kWh/m2/day, with the highest levels mostly in the north of the country, and the amount of sunshine ranges from 1,800-3,000 hours annually. A total of 8 MW of grid-connected installations were operational at the end of 2014, and so far only one utility-scale solar PV facility (20 MW) is under construction, but the Energy Commission has issued provisional licenses for more than 1.8 GW of generating capacity.

 

http://solargis.info/doc/_pics/freemaps/1000px/ghi/SolarGIS-Solar-map-Ghana-en.png

Source: solargis

 

Ghana has significant hydropower potential that is currently being utilised by the Akosombo, Kpong and Bui hydro plants, which supply a total of 1,580 MW. At present, there are 22 small and 17 medium-sized unexploited sites with capacities ranging from 15-100 MW and a combined total capacity of around 800 MW.

 

Regarding biomass, Ghana has a strong potential for biofuel production – thanks to energy crops such as jatropha and oil palm fruit. Significant investments have been made in the production of both and the Government has plans to further increase production. A recent study ranked Ghana as Africa’s leading producer of biodiesel from jatropha. Another investigation highlighted the country’s potential for biodiesel production from oil palm fruit, in which it is also one of the leaders in Africa, based on the increase in production over the last ten years. Biomass co-generation plants, which use sawmill residue and oil palm waste have a total capacity of over 6 MW.

 

The wind potential in Ghana is seen as marginal – average annual wind speeds are 4-6m/s at 50m above sea level along the coast and on some islands. However, some areas near the border with Togo have wind speeds above 8m/s. Wind resource assessments were conducted at eight sites along the coast between 2011 and 2013. The results are shown in the table below, which depicts the average monthly wind speed at 60m elevation. This highlights the potential for development of around 300 MW of wind farm capacity.

http://energycom.gov.gh/files/Graph-Average%20Monthly%20Wind%20Speed%20at%2060m%20at%208%20Sites%20along%20the%20Coast%20of%20Ghana%20-%20April%202014.pdf

Source: Energy Commission Ghana, 2014