Banks urged to fund mini-grid

Discussants at a day’s forum on Ghana off grid electrification investment have resolved to educate financial institutions to explore policies related to mini-grids to encourage universal energy access.

The participants, key players in the public and private sectors said most banks were not well-informed with matters of mini-grids resulting in non financial support from the sector.

The forum, organised by the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (CEESD), a non profit organisation devoted to technology on renewable energy under the SNV Voice for Change (V4C) partnership programme, saw the discussants call on financial institutions to include the funding of mini-grid in their annual budget.

In an interaction with the media, Dr Julius Ahiekpor, the Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (CEESD), said although the country had one of the highest electricity penetration rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, there were still two million people living in isolated areas who did not have access to electricity.

“Lack of access to electricity to those people remains a major developmental challenge and Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) has set a target of universal electrification by 2030.”

“Various studies have identified mini-grid-based electrification as possible solution to achieving our target of electricity by 2030, solving the country’s electricity challenges will require continuous effort by the government in partnering the private sector to hasten the pace of electrification,” he observed.

Dr Ahiekpor cautioned that the country was not on track to achieving sustainable energy for all despite efforts made by the government due to rapid population growth and requiring additional efforts to achieve the target.

The Renewable Energy Advisor to SNV, Mr Dramani Bukari, urged the Ministry of Energy to harness private sector investment and participation in the programme to accelerate mini-grid deployment saying “it is refreshing that the Ministry is working to achieve the vision of universal access to electricity. Currently the country’s electricity access rate stood at 85 per cent.”

By BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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