This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/27/2017
Overview

Ghana’s power sector involves the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy for industrial, commercial and domestic use. Ghana’s main sources of electrical power are hydro, thermal and solar. Ghana’s thermal generation plants have relied primarily on light crude oil (LCO) or diesel as a fuel source, both inefficient and expensive. In early 2015 domestic gas from the offshore Jubilee Field became available for power generation, a development that could lower the cost of power by improving the availability of low-cost natural gas. In early 2017, gas production from the TEN oil field is also expected to come online.

Solar energy is used in some remote off-grid locations and at a single on-grid facility (a small pilot project in the country’s north). With a total capacity of less than two megawatts of solar power, Ghana is far short of its stated goal of ten percent renewable contribution by 2020. State-owned entities involved in the power sector include: the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana’s state-owned power company; the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo), the largest state-owned transmission company; and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the state-owned power off-taker and utility.

Some interest – though likely highly unrealistic – in nuclear power has been expressed over the longer term. Ghana does currently have a small research reactor. Wind power generation is being explored by a few firms, but no firm plans are in place. Biomass (wood fuel) continues to meet more than 60 percent of Ghana’s total energy needs.

Access to reliable power has been identified as a major impediment to economic development. A growing focus of the U.S. government’s efforts to facilitate economic growth in Ghana is now directed at improving power production and access to electricity. Ghana has been included in President Obama’s Power Africa initiative and is receiving further assistance through the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) second compact with the country.  Currently, Power Africa is supporting selected priority transactions that have the potential to add over 1500 MW to Ghana’s grid over the next three to five years. The first MCC Bidders Conference on the ECG Concession was held in Accra on May 22-24, 2017. 

There were six (6) short-listed bidders in late-August 2016, but the Bidders Conference could not be held due to upcoming national elections last year.  After the new government took over in January 2017, it carefully reviewed the MCC Compact and its different investment and reform components and expressed its desire for three major revisions:
  • There would be minimum 51% Ghanaian share-holding in the bidding consortiums.
  • The concession period would be reduced from 25 to 20 years.
  • There would be no retrenchment of ECG staff during the concession period.
  • The MCC Compact is scheduled to reach financial close by September 2018.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Although longer term plans are in place to increase the share of renewable power in Ghana’s energy mix, in the shorter term more traditional power sources are likely to dominate as Ghana continues to try to reduce the consumption of biomass (in the form of wood fuel) and increase access to the power grid across the country.  Eighty-five percent of all Ghanaian households are connected to the national power grid but the government is seeking entrepreneurial private sector participation to ensure the remaining fifteen percent of the country also has access to affordable power.

Ghana is involved in the development of the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP), aimed at establishing a regional market for electricity trade. WAPP is intended to integrate the operations of the national power systems into a unified regional electricity market, which will, over the medium to long term, assure the citizens of ECOWAS Member States a stable and reliable electricity supply at competitive cost.

Ghana is already connected with its western neighbor, Cote D’Ivoire, and its eastern neighbors, Togo and Benin. Plans are underway to interconnect with its northern neighbor, Burkina Faso.

Opportunities

A number of opportunities exist in generation, transmission and distribution. For an up to date list of current projects please contact the U.S. Commercial Service Ghana.

Web Resources

West Africa Power Pool
Volta River Authority
Ghana Energy Commission
Ghana Grid Company Limited
Electricity Company of Ghana  
 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Ghana Energy Trade Development and Promotion