Ghana has a potential to become the hub of nuclear technology in Africa, the Deputy Secretary of the United States (US) of America Department of Energy, David Turk, has said.
According to him, the country’s nuclear reactor at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), coupled with other facilities, technologies and minerals placed the country ahead of others in the region.
Speaking at a symposium on nuclear energy and climate at the University of Ghana in Accra on Friday, he said the US was ready to share its experience with Ghana to enable the country to use nuclear for good.
The forum, organised by the College of Basic and Applied Sciences(CBAS) in collaboration with the US Embassy in Ghana, afforded the US official an opportunity to highlight clean energy opportunities and US’ efforts.
According to Mr Turk, if Ghana leveraged on the nuclear technology, it would derive economic gains for its socio-economic development because a lot of countries were investing in the technology for clean energy.
He said the country was endowed with critical minerals that were needed for projects in Solar Photovoltaics (PV) or magnets and wind turbines, or Evie batteries.
“Think about the processing of lithium, think about those products that can be used domestically, can be used in Africa to help bring those energy services that should be export opportunities, as well as the immensity of what we’re going to need in this (energy) revolution is just phenomenal,” he said.
He said, “And it’s a hugely, hugely exciting opportunity. Some estimates have put this environment’s opportunity to $23 trillion within a decade of market opportunity.”
Mr Turk said there was a huge opportunity in the clean energy space and urged all countries to take advantage of them to help save the planet from the impact of climate change.
He said aside from nuclear, there were prospects in renewable energy such as solar, wind energy, geothermal, of which the assets were high in Africa but with low investment.
He said the US respected strives African countries were making to transition to clean energies, especially when the continent bore the brunt of the large carbon emissions from the rest of the world.
On investments the US was making, Mr Turk said the country had started focusing on offshore wind as another clean energy technology, because it was 18 times more potent on a daily basis than the electricity the whole world consumes currently.
“So just offshore wind in and of itself can provide 18 times the electricity that the world uses right now. And that’s just offshore wind that’s not talking about geothermal”, he said.
Mr Turk said the US had also launched its biggest climate change clean energy legislation through which it was committing $500 billion towards clean energy to reduce the country’s climate change footprint.
Despite the vast opportunities, Mr Turk said success in the clean energy area would require private sector investment, public sector dedication and accountability on the part of the government.
The Provost of the CBAS, Professor Boateng Onwona-Agyeman, advocated for support to enable the university research into clean energy technologies.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR