A day’s dissemination workshop to unveil findings of a research project on Green Growth Diagnostics has taken place at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, ISSER, University of Ghana.

It also sought to stimulate more dialogue among stakeholders notably, the public, civil society organisations, private sector, and academia as well as donor agencies.

Speakers at the workshop were Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo, Project Lead from ISSER who spoke on the Political Economy Analysis (PEA) of Binding Constraints to Renewable Energy in Ghana and Dr. Ana Pueyo, PI, IDS gave an overview of the Green Growth Diagnostics for Africa (GGDA) while Dr. Timothy Afful-Koomson presented the keynote address. The event was chaired by Prof. Paul Yankson.

Dr. Charles Ackah, Head of the Economics Division and Coordinator of PhD Programme stood in for the Director of ISSER Prof. Felix Asante to give the welcome address.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Yankson stressed the importance of energy in economic development and its effect on the environment.

He noted the overdependence on fossil fuel and hydro adversely causes climate change and this is a great challenge to humanity now. Prof. Yanson argued, however that renewable energy is clean and could be harnessed for development.

In his contribution, Dr. Afful-Koomson who works for the African Development Bank, AfDB, stated the AfDB has developed a Green Growth Framework which demonstrates their support of the current development paradigm - a tilt towards green growth.

He explained his outfit looked at the challenges on the continent and concluded that a sure way to fast forward industrialization was by promoting renewable energy technologies.

Dr. Afful-Komsoon disclosed Africa has received $10 billion boost to help build renewable energy sources.

When the Project Lead, Dr. Bawakyillenuo took his turn, he gave a background perspective to the political economy analysis of the binding constraints to renewable energy investment in Ghana.

He noted, quoting from academic sources that in the past fossil fuel accounted for 80% of the world’s total primary energy supply and 64% of electricity generation but lately there have been calls for a rethink in favour of renewable energy generation as a way of mitigating the harmful effects of fossil fuel on the climate.

Dr. Bawakyillenuo disclosed that the adoption of renewable energy technologies has been met by stiff opposition mainly from interest groups resulting in the low investment in renewables.

He argued it was fair to unearth the reasons for their resistance through a Political Economy Analysis approach since this would provide an understanding as to why socially and economically desirable plans and policies are regarded as being difficult to be implemented by policy makers.

The Project Lead for Ghana remarked that though the Medium-Term Development Energy Policy and the Renewable Energy Act 2011, Act 832 offer advocacy and legislative support for the development of renewable energy in Ghana, yet the contribution of renewable energy technologies to the energy generation mix is still very low.

However, the 2010 National Energy Policy which shapes the energy activities of the country seeks to increase the share of renewable energy in Ghana’s energy mix from the current 1% to 10% by 2020 through the increase use of renewable technologies.

Touching on the binding constraints to investment in renewable energy in the country, Dr. Bawakyillenuo, figured out that the inability of the present off-taker (Electricity Company of Ghana) to maintain a credible and resounding balance sheet as a result of bottlenecks with revenue collection underscores the risk in the power sector as far as investment is concerned.

He noted this situation dampens investors’ confidence since it could be difficult for them to recoup their investments.

Other binding constraints are the faulty power sector regulation which is fraught with challenges that undermine renewable energy investors’ confidence and the lack of access to appropriate finance. To stimulate more dialogue among key stakeholders, questions and contributions were allowed from participants.

“Green Growth Diagnostics for Africa” (GGDA) is a research project funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and jointly undertaken by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, UK, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), Kenya, Durham University, UK, Newcastle University, UK and Policy Practice, a policy Think-Tank in the UK.