Ghana - Country Commercial Guide
Energy Sector

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-08-31

General Overview

Ghana’s power supply sources continue to be from hydroelectricity, thermal fueled by crude oil, natural gas and diesel, solar and imports from Cote D’Ivoire. Ghana also exports power to Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso.  Ongoing grid expansions would allow further exports to other neighboring countries in the sub region.

Ghana has a vibrant power generation terrain, with players from both the public and private sectors. Reforms in the power sector in the 1980s gradually removed barriers and created a level playing field for the participation of independent power producers in an area which hitherto had only public sector participants.

The total installed capacity for existing plants in Ghana is 4,132 Megawatt (MW), consisting of hydro 38%; thermal 61%; and solar less than 1%.

The government of Ghana in 2019 terminated the concession agreement under which Power Distribution Services, a company based in the Philippines that won a tender organized by the Millennium Challenge Corporation under its Second Compact in Ghana, was to take over the assets of Electricity Company of Ghana for the distribution of electricity in the southern sector of Ghana. The reason given for the decision was the discovery that the payment security for the transaction was invalid. The U.S. disputed this finding, but the contract termination went forward.

Current access to electricity remains at an average of 83 percent, with 50 percent of rural residents and 91 percent of urban residents connected to the electricity grid.  Lack of access to reliable power has been identified as a major impediment to economic development.  However, the aim of achieving universal access by 2020 does not seem likely.

A major focus of the U.S. government’s efforts to facilitate economic growth in Ghana remains improving power production and access to electricity. Since its inclusion in U.S. government’s Power Africa initiative, Ghana has benefitted from the following:

  1. Transaction advisory support for gas and power; Beyond the Grid (energy access); feasibility studies; risk mitigation instruments;
  2. Analysis of power sector finances; support for fiscal management; and capacity-building;
  3. Millennium Challenge Corporation reform of distribution utilities; demand-side management and energy efficiency; and regulatory assistance; and
  4. Integrated resource and resilience planning; and assistance for power grid stability to scale renewable energy.

The state is still heavily involved in the energy sector, with state entities having a controlling presence in the entire value chain. At the generation phase, the entire hydroelectricity component is controlled by the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Bui Power Authority (BPA), with VRA also involved in some aspects of thermal generation alongside the Independent Power Producers (IPP).

State-controlled Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) is still solely responsible for transmission throughout the entire country. The final leg of distribution is mainly controlled by the state-owned entities Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO). A private entity, Enclave Power Company, plays a minor role in the distribution chain.

Renewable Energy (RE) Subsector

Ghana published a Renewable Energy Master Plan in 2019 with the aim to achieve the following by 2030:

  • Increase the proportion of renewable energy in the national energy generation mix from 42.5 MW in 2015 to 1,363.63 MW (with grid-connected systems totaling 1,094.63 MW).
  • Reduce dependence on biomass as the main fuel for thermal energy applications.
  • Provide renewable energy-based decentralized electrification options in 1,000 off-grid communities.
  • Promote local content and local participation in the renewable energy industry.

The Renewable Energy Master Plan includes the promotion of local manufacturing and assembling of renewable energy technology products and technology.

The total installed RE generation capacity in Ghana in 2020 is projected at 42.6 MWp. This is made up of 2.5 MWp VRA Solar (Navrongo), 20.0 MWp BXC Solar (Winneba), 20.0 MWp Meinergy Solar (Gomoa Onyaadze) and 0.1 MW Safi Sana. The total projected RE generation is 54.7 GWh.

Incentives proposed for renewable energy manufacturing and assembling firms include:

  • Substantial tax reduction.
  • Exemption of materials, components, equipment and machinery (that cannot be obtained locally) for manufacturing or assembling, from import duty and VAT, up to the year 2025.
  • Exemption of import duty on plants and plant parts for electricity generation from renewable energy resource.

In furtherance of this objective, work is ongoing to amend the Renewable Energy Act 2011, Act 832 to provide the enabling atmosphere to attract investment in the manufacturing and assembling of renewable energy technology locally.

Opportunities

It is projected that there is the need to procure an additional generation capacity of 225 MW by January 2024 and an additional 200 MW by January 2025 to preserve the security of supply in Ghana. This presents a huge opportunity for U.S. companies operating in the energy sector.

Given the desire to alter the generation mix to include more renewable sources, the main opportunities in the renewable energy subsector, include setting up local manufacturers and assemblers of renewable energy technology. There is now a concerted push to increase the contribution of renewable energy to total power supply sources and this will come with incentives to attract investors into this sector.

There are some initiatives to attract investments into this sector, and a number of opportunities exist in harnessing wind power to generate electricity, mainly located along the coastal areas of Ghana. Various locations exist across the country which are also suitable for use as solar parks.

According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), the following needs exist in the power sector:

  • Street lighting
  • Companies to supply energy-monitoring equipment to better meet the increased requests for power monitoring and tariff analysis from industry in the country

•    Companies to provide an alternative decentralized sustainable energy system that can easily be deployed in remote and deprived communities into the overall national energy mix.

•    Companies to provide solar vaccine refrigerators for the preservation of vaccines for child immunization programs in remote and off-grid parts of the country.

•    Provision of solar energy systems to schools in off-grid communities.

•    New, higher quality and cost competitive energy services to low income communities for cooking, transport, water heating and other home appliances.

Resources

http://www.energycom.gov.gh/

https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/ghana

http://www.gridcogh.com/electricitysupplyplan

https://www.energymin.gov.gh/

http://www.energycom.gov.gh/files/Renewable-Energy-Masterplan-February-2019.pdf

https://www.africa-energy-portal.org/news/ghana-government-terminates-pds-contract-ecg#:~:text=The%20Government%20of%20Ghana%20has,southern%20sector%20of%20the%20country.

https://www.gipcghana.com/invest-in-ghana/sectors/utilities/investment-opportunities.html