ECREE trains artisans on cook stoves construction

Accra, April 7, GNA – The West African Clean Cooking Alliance (WACCA) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) has trained artisans in Ghana on institutional cook stoves construction.

The training is aimed at empowering artisans, producers and manufacturers in new and innovative ways of constructing clean cookstoves in the ECOWAS sub-region to achieve WACCA’s objectives of bringing clean, safe and affordable cooking energy solutions to the entire population by 2030.

It brought together cookstoves artisans from Anglophone West African countries, including Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana and was organised in collaboration with the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GHACCO) in Accra.

Mr Bah Saho, a Programme Officer of ECREE told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that about 80 percent of the people in the ECOWAS region still relied on traditional biomass as their primary cooking fuel, hence the need for the workshop to access critical energy situation and the way forward.

He said in some West African countries, biomass based fuels (firewood and Charcoal) represent more than 90 percent of the households’ energy needs, especially in rural and peri-urban areas.

He said the prevalence of biomass based fuel for cooking using inefficient stoves such as the three stone fire had been identified as one of the leading causes for deforestation, which

was the main drivers for climate change.
Mr Saho expressed regret that the use of traditional cookstoves also contributed to over four million premature deaths per year globally, adding that, mostly women and children bore

the burden of cooking due to indoor-air pollution.
”To address these challenges, ECREE was committed to ensuring the promotion and installation of clean and efficient cookstoves for households and institutions and support to artisans, producers and distributors to able to reduce fuel wood consumption and health risk associated with it.” He said.

Mr John Yeboah, A Coordinator of WACCA, said ECREE and its partners launched WACCA initiative in October 2012, to support wide distribution of efficient, affordable, sustainable and safe cooking fuels and devices to the ECOWAS population.

He said the training was designed to enable the participants to see the possibilities out there using modern innovation in cookstove production as a case study and living proof of success

in the industry.
Mr Lovans Owusu-Takyi, a participants from the Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solution (ISEES), told the GNA that he was impressed with the practical skills, designing and construction of cookstoves that used palm kernel chaff and firewood for cooking in institutions.

Mr Tapsir Ibrahim, from Sierra Leone, also told the GNA ‘we learnt a lot of improved and innovative designs of institutional firewood stoves that will be useful for schools in the rural

”I hope to go back to promote these innovative stoves and facilitate its installation for my people,” he said.



Government committed to power all facilities with solar by end of Akufo-Addo’s term – Minister

By: Pamela Ofori-Boateng

The Minister for Energy, Mr Boakye Agyarko says the government is committed to ensure that all government facilities are powered with solar by the end of Akufo-Addo’s term to save the country a tremendous amount of money.

Mr Agyarko said, “In my own ministry our 13 to 14 per cent reliance on solar means that on a monthly basis we are saving about GH¢7000, which translates to about GH¢90.000 annually or $20.000 and that is a significant savings.”

Mr Agyarko was speaking at a brief event organized by the US embassy to mark a signing deal between the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and BioTherm Energy (Pty) Ltd.

He noted that, “God in his infinite wisdom gave us the sun and if we are careful and wise enough then the only source that we think is indistinguishable is what we should be fully relying on hence my passion for renewable energy.”

He however, indicated that his commitment to solar has led to a discussion where it is the objective to turn his department into a solar powered building which will gain them more authority to compel other Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to go solar.

He said the objective of the Akufo Addo’s government is to keep the light on and keep transportation running.

“Our experiences through 2012 to 2014 and 2016 and its lingering effect mean that if we are to keep the lights on, then our reliance on fossil fuel is not the way for the future. We have to get renewable and get to renewable fast,” he noted.

He indicated the possibility of generating electricity much cheaper from solar than the utilities sold to Ghanaians. Adding that, it is possible to generate electricity from solar for  less than 60 pesewas or 15 cents a kilowatt hour.

Through the deal, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), provided $861.300 to fund feasibility studies for the Ghanaian company BTSA Buipe Solar Ltd in the Northern Region of Ghana.




‘It’s time to aggressively turn to solar power’ – ACEP advises Ghanaians


African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) says Ghanaians should seriously consider solar power as an alternative source of energy in the wake of a protracted energy crisis.

ACEP Deputy Director Ben Boakye told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, an important barrier to solar power, which is cost, has reduced significantly enough for consumers to consider it as an alternative.

Ben Boakye

Ben Boakye

Ghana has enough installed power capacity of 3,644MW to meet a peak demand of  2,118MW. In practice, therefore, there should be no load shedding. But power plants need either gas or Light Crude Oil to produce electricity. Hence beyond installed capacity, government has to cough up cash to buy fuel.

“Dumsor is not a function of installed capacity. Dumsor is a function of your ability to procure sufficient feed or crude, or gas to power the plants” Enery minister Boakye Agarko pointed out during his vetting.

Government required at least US$1.18 billion to procure fuel alone for 2016, the Energy Commission has said. And there is the ‘garguatuan’ outstanding debt described as ‘legacy debts’ to settle. It is estimated at $2billion.

The energy crisis dominated much of President John Mahama’s tenure, slumped the economy to growth rates under 3.9% in 2016 and is believed to have cost the NDC government the 2016 elections.

Following erratic power supply over the past four weeks, consumers have expressed misgivings about whether the crisis endured since 2012 has resurfaced.

Four years after the crisis embedded in the power system recurred, the NDC government has had to sink more than $640million into two power purchase deals to alleviate the situation. It led to increasing cost of utilities by more than 50% in 2015 alone.

President Mahama announced in 2016 that power rationing had ended but warned there was a lot of work still to be done.

After more than nine months of stable power and a change in government, 2017 signs on the wall suggest the situation is still fragile and a political blame game is on about which government should be blamed for the resurgence.

“It is difficult to promise at this state, that we have ended load shedding,” Ben Boakye stated and refused to rule out a re-lapse.

As a testament to Ghana’s fragile power supply system, a re-lapse is possible even when scheduled maintenance on power plants are to be carried out.

In the meantime, Ghana relies on Ivory Coast, its neighbour to the eastern border for between 74mw to 140mw of power.

According to ACEP, the current power supply is “just about what [we] need”.

Accra by night, improved power supply

After shifting focus from hydro power to thermal power, the energy expert said the time is right for a shift to solar power.

‘I think it is the way to go” he stressed. He said a solar panel or two installed in homes can slash the recurring cost of power and reduce dependence on the Electricity Company of Ghana, the power distributor.

Despite government’s plan to cede 5% of energy generation mix to solar, not even 1% has been achieved, he said.

Only 2.5mw of Ghana’s power mix is from solar energy. The 2.5mw solar power plant at Navrongo in the Upper East Region was inaugurated in May 2013. It cost  $2 million.

Ben Boakye says he wants to see government loosen bureaucratic hurdles to solar power distribution and financing so that individuals can adopt the sun source-energy to power their homes.

The push to solar power should be aggressive, he urged government. In February 2015, President John Mahama announced plans to help install 200,000 rooftop solar systems.

It was to be funded by increasing the Energy Fund Levy on Petroleum Products from Gp0.05 to Gp1.0.  It is expected to save the country about 200 megawatts of power daily.



Solar-powered cinema opens in Burkina ahead of festival

President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore (C) cuts the ribbon during the inauguration of a new movie theatre which runs on solar power in Ouagadougou on February 24, 2017.  By Ahmed OUOBA (AFP)


Ouagadougou (AFP) – A solar-powered cinema was unveiled in Burkina Faso Friday ahead of Ouagadougou’s hosting of Africa’s top film festival, even as movie theatres on the continent continue to disappear.

The theatre, with its 300-seat capacity, will run on solar energy. Named Canal Olympia Yennenga, it is now the third-largest movie hall in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou.

Located in the city’s posh Ouaga2000 neighbourhood, the theatre cost about 3 million euros ($3.2 million) to build.

It is the brainchild of French businessman Vincent Bollore, whose company owns French premium TV and cinema group Canal Plus.

“In the city of Ouagadougou, we lack movie theatres of this calibre,” said Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

“Ouagadougou is the capital of African cinema. We have every intention of keeping it that way,” Kabore said. “It is in our interest to have theatres.”

Ouagadougou will play host to the Pan-African Film and Television Festival, better known as FESPACO, which kicks off Saturday and winds up March 4 with a red carpet awards ceremony in the city’s football stadium.

More than 100,000 people are expected for the 10-day event, held every two years, a year after 33 people were killed and scores injured in an unprecedented jihadist assault in January 2016.

More than 160 movies are screening, including 20 features vying for the top award, the prized “Etalon d’Or” or Golden Stallion.

During the theatre’s unveiling, Kabore hailed the “beautiful tool” of culture.

A score of feature films from 14 African countries and the French West Indian territory of Guadeloupe are competing to take the top prize, won last year by “Fièvres” (“Fevers”), by Moroccan director Hicham Ayouch.

The hall also opens at a time when many historic cinemas have shut and when many African cities just simply lack movie theatres.

The Canal Plus group is set to open about 50 other movie theatres in francophone countries in Africa where the group operates, said Canal Olympia President Corinne Bach.

It is the third hall the group has opened after Douala in Cameroon, Niamey in Niger, and Conakry in Guinea.

Despite last year’s attack by a three-man jihadist unit on city hotels and restaurants, the government ruled out cancelling the film festival which has become the small and struggling nation’s premier event.

In December, the Burkinabe army suffered its biggest ever setback when 12 soldiers were killed during a jihadist raid on the Mali-Niger border.



PEG& BIMA To Reward Solar Customers with Free Insurance Cover In Ghana

By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo,

As part of its efforts of providing quality healthcare to Ghanaians , a global Micro -Insurance and health pioneer company called BIMA and PEG Africa has taken a giant step by rewarding Solar customers with free insurance cover.

Briefing Journalists in Accra , the Executive Officer of PEG Africa Mr. Hugh Whalan , hinted that PEG and BIMA have already conducted a successful pilot project of providing insurance to over 2000 families.

Adding that, they will now scale the program nationwide , providing a vital financial safety net that creates an even more affordable way for Ghanaians to fund energy needs.

This exclusive hospitalization insurance product pays out for every night spent in hospital as a result of illness or injury.

More so, for peace of mind, the PEG hospitalization product is underwritten by Prudential Life, a company with 1,268 trillion USD in assets under management and 49,000 employees.

” PEGS provides financing for solar products to low -income households on a 12 month rent-to-own plan.

PEG’s typical customer lives in a rural area and earns $5-$10 per day, spending up to 30% of that income on poor quality fuels such as kerosene, candles and batteries”, he noted.

This he said, while these customers have little ability to purchase a solar home system for cash , the payment plan offered by PEG allows them to purchase it over time, building ownership in the asset over 12 months with daily payments of 50 cents.

One of the primary reasons that PEG’s customer cease repaying their solar loan on-time is a health emergency that requires hospitalization .

“Poor consumers often have little or no savings, and an expected emergency or health issue can mean they spend the following months living hand -to-mouth .

Rising this challenge, PEG worked with BIMA to create a unique insurance product that is specifically tailored to the kinds of emergency situations by a poor rural household “, he explained.

According to him, has worked hard to design a product around the needs of their customers and the results from the pilot are very positive.

“We are excited to be the forefront of our industry , being the first player to provide these kinds of value -added services to rural consumers.

With this cover, customers have the security of knowing that unexpected healthcare costs won’t limit their ability to access life-changing solar power”, he said.

According to him , PEG is a leading pay-as-you- go financing company in West Africa, operating in Ghana and Ivory Coast that provides credit for useful and productive assets to off-grid customers.

The Country Manager at BIMA Mr. Russell Haresign , noted that PEG hospitalization product means that a period of illness or injury should not prevent the family from paying for the services since it needs to succeed.

We are very proud to work with PEG, creating an innovative solution that tackles a business challenge whilst creating real value for customers.

According to him, BIMA uses mobile technology to deliver affordable insurance and health products to low-income consumers in emerging markets and families cannot access these vital services through traditional channels .



Abibiman Foundation’s Kenneth Amoateng…Using Clean Cookstoves To Change Climate


Kenneth Nana Amoateng, Middle, With One Of The Products During Last Year's COP22 Climate Change Conference In Morocco


The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) ended in Marrakech, Morocco in November last year 2016.

The session had an African Action Summit of African Heads States on Climate Change, where a declaration was issued to boost the climate change resilience drive in Africa.

It also made way for the issuance of a proclamation to signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

Since the conference ended and as global leaders prepare to gather again in Bonn, Germany for 2017 COP23, the activities of African climate changers have been of high interest to the climate change industry players.

It is in this regard that Kenneth Nana Amoateng and his Abibiman Foundation has been at the fore front of working towards achieving the Climate Change agenda.

Mr. Kenneth Amoateng exhibited his scientic innovation, during last year’s Marrackech conference with his specially designed Clean Cookstove to deal with smokes emerging from village and rural kitchens across Ghana and some other African countries.

Abibiman Foundation, is a member of the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GHACCO) and has piloted this cookstove initiative over the past few years.

Also, Abibiman Foundation last year 2016 participated in the 2nd ordinary general meeting of the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GHACCO) as member of the Alliance.

The 2nd ordinary general meeting was held to brief members of the achievements and on-going activities of the alliance and to discuss new developments for effective promotion of clean cookstoves in Ghana towards the achievement of the sustainable energy for all agenda.

The workshop saw the participation of about 50 members including the presence of Arjit Basut and Kwesi Sarpong of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves who also briefed the members on the programs that the Global Alliance is implementing in Ghana and West Africa which includes the Awareness Creation Campaign and lessons learnt.

Executives from the Regional Steering Committees from the Ashanti (Mr. Michael of Man and Man Enterprise)and Greater Accra regions were also present and shared their activities for the year, challenges and experiences and plans for the rest of the year.

The meeting provided opportunities for members to be updated on on-going activities including the evidence based advocacy voices for Change project of SNV, the awareness creation campaign, elections of regional executives and the clean cooking festival of the Ghana Education Service aimed at educating youth on the clean cooking.


KNUST launches project to develop bio-based power









The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has launched a project to develop a simple, efficient and sustainable electricity generation technology for use in rural and urban communities.

It focuses on developing microbial fuel cell technology to generate electricity and support wastewater treatment.

The project is being jointly undertaken by the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University and the Center for Bioprocess Engineering, DTU Denmark.

Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA) is funding it with $500,000, according to the 2015 Research Report of the KNUST.

It said “the technology has the capacity to harness power from various wastewater sources which makes it a very efficient tool especially for wastewater treatment”.

Project teams in Ghana and Denmark have been carrying out various experimental activities, at the heart of which, are substrate selection and development, electrode materials development and reconfiguration of various components, it added.

The results of the findings are being extended into the Seaweed Biorefinery in Ghana Project (SEABIOGHA), the report said, indicating that “its introduction into this new project is to support waste treatment and ensure the efficient use of its biomass residue”.

Separately, the university is working towards the development of innovative technologies for managing plastic waste in the country – develop solar cells materials used for fabricating solar cells, produce biofuels from indigenous materials, convert plastic waste into useful materials and the development of biodegradable plastics.

The report said it has been aggressively pushing ahead with research into renewable energy programmes alongside polymer science and technology.

This is being done through the collaboration of local and foreign researchers including those from United Kingdom, South Africa and Cameroun and ties in with the national objective to substitute 10 per cent of the national energy mix with renewable energy by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2030.

It noted that solar energy and bioenergy “are among the most promising alternative sources of renewable energy to supplement or reduce the overdependence on petroleum”.

That was why the researchers have been working assiduously to identify and explore suitable local materials – vegetable oils and agricultural crop residues for the production of biofuels and using nanotechnology techniques to tune the sizes of semiconducting materials suitable for fabricating solar cells.



Citi Innovation Heroes: Ghana’s Safi Sana transforming waste into energy


While the sanitation situation in Ghana’s capital, Accra, seem to be one of the toughest challenges to surmount with very limited waste management ideas and practices, there appear to be a shining example of what needs to be done urgently to arrest the situation.

200 metres away from the Tema motorway under-bridge, is Adjei-Kojo, a community in Ashaiaman in the Greater Accra Region, where Safi Sana Ghana Limited operates.

The company, which has been operating for the past 6 years, is leading a revolution to address Ghana’s sanitation challenges, and at the same time, producing energy to feed the country’s national grid.

The social enterprise operates a simple model that sees it collect faecal matter and solid waste, pass them through its factory machines to produce organic fertilizer for agricultural purposes, and energy to support the national electricity grid.

Raymond Ategbi Okrofu, the Country Manager for Safi Sana Ghana, said the company’s model is effective and can be scaled or replicated in various parts of the country.

“Being the first plant, we were a bit modest in our design, it can be designed to handle any amount of waste, but the first plant we have here, it is designed to have 30 metric tonnes of waste daily.”

Safi Sana currently sources solid waste from the Ashaiman market, Accra abattoir and faecal matter from the various public toilet facilities within Ashaiman.

“We have a big anaerobic digester which accomodates all the various strings of waste so it goes through the process of fermentation and the gas is produced, and we channel the gas to power a generator… currently we are doing about 1.6 megawatts daily; but there is the capacity to do more if we have clean waste and we increase the size of the digester,” Mr Okrofu explained on the Citi Breakfast Show.

He added that the company had entered a Power Purchasing Agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), that enables it to feed the power generated into the national grid and receives payment for it.

The technology being deployed at the company is imported from Netherlands, and is an initiative of Aqua for All in a consortium of commercial and public partners, including Royal HaskoningDHV, African Development Bank and Wereld Waternet, who raised the €2.5 million needed to start the project.

According to Mr. Okrofu, building a similar plant in other parts of the country may cost less, due to the avoidance of costs including registration of business and other related services.

He however advised that more investments should be made to increase the capacity of the project, rather than replicate the exact project at its current small capacity in various parts of the country.

“The benefits of this project is not just electricity, you have sanitation, agriculture, job creation and others… I can tell that we cut across about 5 ministries mentioned by the current president – local government, power, agriculture, sanitation and water,” he adds.

Having spent almost three years to finally establish and officially commence operation of the waste management business after a period of piloting, Safi Sana is hopeful that creating another system to serve the same function on a larger scale, will take less than a year to complete.



Local company announces production of ethanol from cassava

Ghana’s first ethanol plant at Hodzo, in the Ho Municipality has produced 150,000 litres of ethanol from cassava between June and December, 2016.

Kasapreko Company Limited (KCL), a large importer of ethanol, with 40 per cent shares in Caltech Ventures, operators of the plant, lifted the product.

Mr Chris Quarshie, Managing Director, Caltech Ventures, told the Ghana News Agency that the feat followed 10 years of producing high quality cassava flour for the local market.

He said after successfully going through the learning curve, the Company was getting stabilized to triple its production in two years.

Mr Quarshie said carbon dioxide and biogas production plants would be installed within the year for full scale production in 2019.

He called for government support to turn Ho, Adaklu and Abutia, cassava growing areas into a processing hub and increase the production of ethanol to reduce the country’s import.

Mr Quarshie also appealed to government to fast track work on the Ho-Hodzo road to open up the area.

Ghana is said to import about 70 million litres of ethanol yearly.