Mr. Godfred Mensah, an energy expert, says Ghana needs an adequate electricity generation reserve capacity of at least 20 per cent of peak demand annually to forestall the country’s energy challenge.
He attributed the current energy problem to a shortfall in generation capacity vis-à-vis the growing demand for electricity.
Mr. Mensah, who is a Power System Planning and Protection Expert at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), told the Ghana News Agency that reserve margin is a measure of the amount of electricity imports and in-state generation capacity available over average peak demand conditions.
He said that the country has an installed electricity capacity of 2,936 megawatts as at December 2014, while a peak demand of 1970.9 megawatts on the other hand was recorded in November 2014.
The energy expert said it was expected that there would be spare generation capacity of 965.1 megawatts to meet the country’s demand.
He said, however, due to several challenges such as inadequate gas supply and maintenance such as planned and breakdown works carried out on some thermal plants, available generation capacity in the country started dwindling.
He said pressure was, therefore, put on the hydro-generation plants at Akosombo, Kpong and Bui to meet the growing demand and coupled with the poor rainfall pattern led to dwindling water levels in the dams.
Mr Mensah expressed the believe that with the country’s historical yearly power demand growth rate of between 10 and 15 per cent, there would be the urgent need to increase the national generation capacities by at least the same percentage per annum in order to meet the growing power requirements.
“We expect adequate reserve margin of at least 20 per cent of the total installed generation capacity on a yearly basis for reliable operation, such that if a problem is encountered at any of the plants, then we can fall back on the reserve,” he added.
He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to play their role in supporting the government to deliver its promise of 5000 megawatts of power generation capacity in the country by 2016.
He encouraged both the private and state institutions, which operate mainly during the day to adopt the use of solar PV plants to meet their daily power consumption needs.
Mr Mensah urged domestic, commercial and industrial consumers to adopt energy efficient and sustainable practices to cut cost.
He also suggested that the Ghana Education Service could consider introducing an energy efficiency programme as part of their academic curriculum in basic schools in the country.
Ms. Akua Nyame-Mensah, the Managing Director, Lamudi Ghana, said: “Managing demand can have a huge impact on the amount of energy available for the country”.
“With smart meters and education, people can see for themselves how much they consume and stop wasting energy through small habits like leaving gadgets plugged into electrical outlets.”