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: 2022-03-24

General Overview

Ghana has a vibrant power generation sector, with public and private companies involved in it. 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 had previously been dominated by public sector participants.

Hydro generation, as well as thermal generation fueled by crude oil, natural gas, and diesel, continue to be the main sources of Ghana’s power supply. Ghana also exports power to Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso. Ongoing grid expansions, which include the completion of transmission lines and Bulk Supply Points (BSPs) across the nation, will allow further exports to other neighboring countries in the sub-region.

The total installed capacity for existing plants in Ghana is 5,134 Megawatt (MW), with a dependable capacity of 4,710 MW.  Thermal generation accounts for the largest share of Ghana’s power generation, representing 66 percent, with hydro accounting for 33 percent.  

The state is still heavily involved in the energy sector, with state entities having a controlling presence in the entire value chain. In 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 along with Independent Power Producers (IPP). Currently, there is a moratorium on the signing of new power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable and conventional/thermal power plants. State-owned 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.

The electricity access rate stands at 86.63 percent (2021), with 50 percent of rural residents and 91 percent of urban residents connected to the electricity grid.  Ghana’s energy sector has significant debt.  Challenges within the sector have included excess gas supply and overgeneration of power.  The debt within the energy sector, coupled with the high cost of power generation in Ghana, creates a brake on Ghana’s economic development.

A major focus of the U.S. government’s efforts to facilitate economic growth in Ghana remains improving power production and access to electricity. Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership aiming to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers tools and resources to private sector entities to facilitate doing business in sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector.  The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 institutionalized Power Africa. Learn more about the full

 Power Africa toolbox or other opportunities offered by Power Africa.

Since its inclusion in the U.S. government’s Power Africa initiative, Ghana has benefitted from the following:

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

Please consult the U.S. Embassy to better understand the status of existing concession agreements and investment disputes in this area.

Renewable Energy (RE) Subsector

A total of 152.34-Gigawatt hour (GWh) of electrical energy is expected from Renewable Energy sources in 2021. The renewable energy sources include grid-connected solar RE farm at Bui, the embedded BXC and Meinergy solar plants, and VRA’s facilities at Navrongo and Lawra/Kaleo.  Renewable energy generation for 2021 is represented below

Generation Sources

GWh

VRA Solar (Navrongo)

3

VRA Solar (Kaleo/Lawra)

26.6

Bui Solar Farm

68

BxC Solar

27

Safisana

0.7

Meinergy

27

Total Renewable Supply

152.3

 

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 manufacturing and assembly in the renewable energy industry.

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.
  • There is a stated desire to add more renewable sources such as by harnessing wind power on the coast and establishing solar parks in appropriate areas.
  • The government is developing incentives to attract manufacturers, assemblers, and other operators in this subsector.

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.
  • 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.

Contact: U.S. Commercial Service Ghana at office.accra@trade.gov or +233 (0) 30 274 1329 for more information on this sector.

Resources

Ghana’s Energy Commission (http://www.energycom.gov.gh/)

Power Africa - Ghana

Ghanaian Ministry of Energy

Ghana Investment Promotion Center