Dr. Prempeh’s Hand Writing Manifests At Energy Ministry
It is now abundantly clear that the name of Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has become synonymous with good delivery and success everywhere he has served since the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration came into office in 2017.
He was made the Minister of Education during the first term of the administration and the records of his impeccable handling of Ghana’s education will continue to remain in the minds of the current generation.
Nana Akufo-Addo, after winning the 2020 presidential election, decided to make Dr. Prempeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South in the Ashanti Region, the Minister of Energy, and that decision has turned out to be very good, first for the current administration and second for the nation.
The medical doctor, who is allergic to failure, has placed the energy sector on a pedestal such that the sector will no doubt sson witness the needed growth to promote Ghana’s development.
The minister, together with the heads of the various agencies under the energy sector, set some key objectives for the 2021-to-2024 period and commenced working on them one after the other.
The objectives include stable, realistic and universally accessible electricity, availability of fuel and realistic pricing of petroleum products, increase Crude Oil reserves to improve revenue, local content and local participation in the energy sector and Ghana’s Energy Transition.
With the unambiguous game plan, the minister set to work and made additions to Ghana’s total installed capacity for electricity. In 2020, it was 5,018 Megawatts but moved to 5,231 Megawatts in 2021.
New additions of Bridge Power generating 150 Megawatts, Bui Solar generating 50 Megawatts and Volta River Authority (VRA) Kaleo Solar generating 13 Megawatts were made under the watch of Dr. Prempeh.
To increase the availability of electricity generation and achieve price competiveness, the Ministry of Energy renegotiated all Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) and shifted from Capacity Based PPA to energy purchase on procurement of electricity.
For power to be transmitted very well, power quality was highly improved in 2021 by introducing more Bulk Supply Points (BSPs), such as Kasoa and Pokuase, to improve the quality of power supply.
Improving technical losses was also a major pre-occupation of the Minister of Energy, making him to make swift moves to upgrade power lines which became the ‘Dum Sie Sie’ agenda to reduce losses and increase transmission capacity.
Power stability in the middle belt of Ghana was so crucial to Dr. Prempeh that the Ameri Plant has been relocated to Kumasi to ensure that there is grid stability for the people in those areas.
Losses associated with power distribution are being dealt with and, in 2021, the minister designed various strategies to deal with the ugly situation.
To improve revenue collection from electricity users beyond the 50% average for the two distribution companies, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), the Ministry of Energy introduced private sector participation to address commercial losses in the power distribution sector.
The ministry and for that matter government also committed through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to improve transmission and distribution of electricity.
In addition to that, there were Boundaries Metering for nine ECG operational regions to help reduce commercial loses.
To increase reserves under petroleum upstream, Dr. Prempeh supervised government’s full payment to Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) partners for the cost of the Takoradi-Tema interconnection project and with that Ghana will benefit from savings on Gas Price of at least $70million per annum.
Under the petroleum upstream activities, the Ministry of Energy in 2021 supervised preparatory studies towards drilling of a well in the Voltarian Basin, unitization of Afena and Sankofa fields to reduce cost of development and improve, in addition to Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), acquisition of 7% each of Anadarko’s stake in Jubilee and TEN Field.
In addition to that Dr. Prempeh was deep in Eni’s discovery of Oil in Eban-1X Well, as well as the invitation to tender for new blocks to increase Oil and Gas reserves, negotiations on acquisition of AKER Field and Tullow Oil’s drill of seven wells.
2021 saw lots of activities in the downstream petroleum development, with the Cylinder Recirculation Model programme to improve safety and increase access to clean gas being implemented, as well as National Petroleum Authority (NPA)’s aggressive strategy to reduce fuel smuggling and dumping.
Under the watch of Dr. Prempeh, there are well- orchestrated plans to develop and improve gas infrastructure in the country and to also increase the availability of petroleum products.
On top of Dr. Prempeh’s agenda was NPA’s regulation of natural gas condensate fuel, integration of Natural Gas activities across the value chain to boost efficiency, increase the utilization of gas in the country and increase investment in the downstream.
There is a Gas Commercialization game plan under which the Tema LNG project, a strategic project to diversify and boost security of gas supply to the nation, is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2022. The terminal will have the capacity to receive, regassify and deliver up to 400 mmscfd. Negotiations have commenced with N-Gas, the supplier of gas in the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), as part of government’s effort to renegotiate existing gas agreements to lessen the Take or Pay burden.
To rationalize electricity tariff, the Ministry of Energy is collaborating with the Public Utilities Regulatory (PURC) to rationalize electricity tariffs to achieve equity for all consumer categories, in addition to shifting from capacity based PPA to energy purchase on procurement of electricity.
The minister’s commitment to local participation in the petroleum industry is clear, as he is supervising the Energy Commission in the establishment of Legislative Instruments (LI) to increase participation in the energy industry. LI 1835 will be for the power sector, while LI 2204 would cater for petroleum upstream.
Renewable and Nuclear Energy Development is dear to the heart of Dr. Prempeh such that, in 2021, there were various steps to strengthen that area with data collection and assessment to select a preferred site for the development of a nuclear power plant with evaluation of the expression of interest is ongoing to select a vendor country for the development of a nuclear power plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is committed to Ghana’s nuclear power programme and has promised technical support.
In 2021, the National Energy Transition Committee was commissioned to draft a transition plan for Ghana by the end of the first quarter of this year.
The construction of three mini-grids at the Azizakpe, Aflive and Alorkpem islands in the Ada East District of the Greater Accra Region has commenced as part of efforts to electrify 50 island communities and hard-to-reach areas with Renewable Energy technologies, while the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) is being extended to include prioritized projects, such as solar streetlights and off-grid solar power projects for isolated communities.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Dr. Prempeh took off smoothly in 2021 and with various strategies put in place, Ghana’s energy sector will definitely blossom under his watch.