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Ghana: Energy - Paradigm Shift Advocated

While an initial assessment in Ghana, reveals more than 2,000 MW of wind energy potential, mainly along the border with Togo, in Africa, this is quite a significant amount, as by some estimates, the continent needs just 40,000 MW of electricity to power its industrialization (see UNEP Governing Council Report). We should also have an ambitious wind approach on the Keta coastline with a proven potential of over 2000MW. We will link this system to our gas powered generators and create a system where gas powered generation is reduced when there is enough wind power and goes up and vice versa. This way we eliminate the problem of having only wind power when there is wind energy since gas will step in to make up for the shortfall, whiles at the same time cutting down on our thermal energy bills. Spain has done it and to give credence to my claim I list the following existing wind energy capacity for major companies in Spain : Gamesa Eólica, 3281 MW; Made, 803 MW; Neg Micon, 715 MW; Ecotécnia, 446 MW etc. (Source Spanish Energy Ministry).

Yesterday the state-owned Daily Graphic reported on its front page that the "government has resolved to opt for nuclear energy as an alternative source of power in a move to avert any future energy crisis in the country." Attribution was given to a source at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. Ghanaians at home and abroad continue to give other ideas. ADM received the following yesterday.

The energy problem is not going away anytime soon; we may weather the storm and hopefully succeed in doubling our energy needs but that will only be temporary. The population growth projections and economic growth potential that we need clearly suggest we will run out of power in less than a decade even if current developments all become a reality as promised.

Reading from most of the experts on energy in Ghana and even from our own SNEP (Strategic National Energy Plan 2006), World Bank reports on how to generate energy for Ghana and the continent, there seems to be an underlying paradigm. Most of the studies and reports treat Ghana as just another country in the temperate North. Most of the solutions put forward seem to assume parameters that are not very relevant to us. It is not uncommon to read reports making a strong... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Yesterday the state-owned Daily Graphic reported on its front page that the "government has resolved to opt for nuclear energy as an alternative source of power in a move to avert any future energy crisis in the country." Attribution was given to a source at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. Ghanaians at home and abroad continue to give other ideas. ADM received the following yesterday.

The energy problem is not going away anytime soon; we may weather the storm and hopefully succeed in doubling our energy needs but that will only be temporary. The population growth projections and economic growth potential that we need clearly suggest we will run out of power in less than a decade even if current developments all become a reality as promised.

Reading from most of the experts on energy in Ghana and even from our own SNEP (Strategic National Energy Plan 2006), World Bank reports on how to generate energy for Ghana and the continent, there seems to be an underlying paradigm. Most of the studies and reports treat Ghana as just another country in the temperate North. Most of the solutions put forward seem to assume parameters that are not very relevant to us. It is not uncommon to read reports making a strong case against the lack of energy when the sun is not available in the winter; the problem with this line of argument is that we live on the equator and we will not be seeing winter and snow anytime soon.

We should move away from this line of thinking and fashion out a system that best suits our circumstances. Towards this effort I propose a new paradigm which splits energy production into two modes: night production and evening production.

Ghana can be powered by solar thermal plants and small solar paneled outfits during the day. We should project to generate 1000MW of energy this way by 2020. Solar thermal power plants concentrate solar energy to heat water or oil to power turbines. A visit for example, to Wa in the UWR in January is enough to convince any doubting Thomas that this is very possible. Our aim should be to use this to power the country during the day time only. What this means is that the entire Akosmbo Dam can be shut down for at least 10 hours every day. Since we will not be purchasing solar energy preservation kits like battery banks, molten sodium and things of that nature such that these plants will run in the evening they will not cost that much to build. The by product of this plant which is usually purified water can even be fed to the water companies. For example a 64-megawatt solar thermal plant is being built near Boulder City , Nevada , by solar power giant, Schott, one of the partnering companies in the project is projected to power over 30,000 homes. We just need 10 of these upgradeable units and we are on our way to energy independence.

While an initial assessment in Ghana, reveals more than 2,000 MW of wind energy potential, mainly along the border with Togo, in Africa, this is quite a significant amount, as by some estimates, the continent needs just 40,000 MW of electricity to power its industrialization (see UNEP Governing Council Report). We should also have an ambitious wind approach on the Keta coastline with a proven potential of over 2000MW.

We will link this system to our gas powered generators and create a system where gas powered generation is reduced when there is enough wind power and goes up and vice versa. This way we eliminate the problem of having only wind power when there is wind energy since gas will step in to make up for the shortfall, whiles at the same time cutting down on our thermal energy bills. Spain has done it and to give credence to my claim I list the following existing wind energy capacity for major companies in Spain : Gamesa Eólica, 3281 MW; Made, 803 MW; Neg Micon, 715 MW; Ecotécnia, 446 MW etc. (Source Spanish Energy Ministry).

We should also embrace the idea generating energy from the municipal waste we generate using biomass energy production techniques. There is enough waste in our urban areas to make this a reality, adding gasoline or coal to aid in combustion is a real possibility. I believe this should be used to plug the hole created by the use of airport lighting and municipal lighting and government buildings and things of that nature. We can ignore the collection on methane and issues of that nature for a phase II approach.

Our night power requirements will then be skewed towards hydro and gas turbines; this way we would have built in an implicit ration system, where Akosombo and Bui are needed only in the night with the same situation existing for expensive gas. A country powered by night on 75% renewables and 25% non-renewables during the day, and on 75% non-renewables and 25% renewables at night may not work well if you have 4 seasons in the temperate North but it is sure and real possibility if you live close to the equator

We live in the tropics and our emphasis on solar solutions should not be that of the West who are researching how best they can use this technology in the winter; sure there will be overcast days but our dedicated night sources which are hydro and gas will always be available to plug this shortfall and in sunny Ghana there is not a whole lot of such overcasts. Adopting a regional approach of using about 20 large solar thermal systems scattered all over the region, this situation can be ameliorated.

We must embrace the technologies of today and pick and choose what works for us as opposed to waiting for someone to finish doing it and then proceed to buy the entire turnkey application for billions when we could have hitched along for a ride and paid far less. The number of high paying jobs to be created from this industry and the export potential to other African countries is enormous.



Source: http://allafrica.com/storie...

APR 15 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/8307-ghana-energy-paradigm-shift-advocated
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