By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
The Ga East Municipality is among six municipalities in Africa to benefit from a sustainable energy project. The project, through the initiative of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) in conjunction with other partners, will support selected municipalities to address the energy challenges facing urban development through sustainable, innovative and knowledge exchange framework approaches.
Supporting African Municipalities in Sustainable Energy Transitions (SAMSET) is a four-year project (2013-2017) that seeks to develop a knowledge exchange framework for supporting local and national bodies involved in municipal energy planning in the effective transition to sustainable energy use in urban areas.
The project involves six urban areas in three countries in Africa; Cape Town and Polokwane municipalities in South Africa, Jinja and Kasese municipalities in Uganda, and Awutu Senya East and Ga East municipalities in Ghana, three leading Universities from the participating countries; University of Ghana, Uganda Martyrs University and University of Cape Town, as well as Sustainable Energy Africa, an NGO in South Africa.
The team also includes two leading universities in the UK – Durham University and University College London, and Gamos, a UK consultancy.
With co-funding from the UK aid through the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC), SAMSET aims to improve knowledge transfer frameworks so that research and capacity-building efforts could be used to more effectively in modeling future energy scenarios and identifying sustainable energy opportunities in the six partnering municipalities.
As part of the project implementation processes, a day’s workshop was organized to present and validate the findings of the energy data in the Ga East Municipality.
This followed a successful stakeholder engagements and data collection exercise conducted by ISSER and its partners.
Opening the workshop, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Hon. John Kwao Sackey underscored the “need to find a more sustainable solution to our energy demands” giving Ghana’s current energy situation.
He commended ISSER for the partnership in the SAMSET project and expressed optimism that the project will produce “an energy picture that is credible and unique to our energy situation to aid the formulation of policies to address our energy needs”.
The Lead Project Researcher from the ISSER, Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo, gave an overview of the project and presented the state of energy survey in the municipality to participants.
He said in September last year, his outfit conducted a survey on the energy demands, consumption, conservation, supply and efficiency paradigms of the various sectors of the municipality which included household, commercial, industry, transport and local government sectors.
Dr Bawakyillenuo said as population keeps growing it was imperative to “relate it to our energy infrastructure and contextualize that. As we build houses and industries are also coming up and we have so many enterprises springing up, you have to stop and ask yourself, where is the energy going to come from, what do we need to do?”, he posited.
He said they realized the infrastructure and capacity challenges that faced the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and therefore aimed to build an energy data that could be used to develop policies and programmes to match their growing population and infrastructure with the energy demands.
Highlight of findings
Presenting the findings of the survey, the Assistant Project Researcher, Mr Innocent Agbelie, mentioned that the energy consumed in the Ga East Municipality as of 2013, with respect to households, commercial and industrial activities, was estimated around 10111293.49m Gigajoules.
The transport sector constituted the largest share of 87% of the total energy consumed in the municipality as against the 13% of the remaining sectors; household 7%, commercial 6%, while the industrial and the local government sectors which consumed about 25539.2 GJ and 11909.3 GJ respectively in 2013 represented less than one percent of the total energy consumed.
The findings also revealed that structural designs also contributed to the energy consumption patterns in the household sector as glazed window users spent more on energy compared to other window types.
Mr Agbelie noted from the findings that architectural designs and the cooling systems that come with them have got implications on energy efficiency while biomass remained a major cooking and water heating energy source to most third class and non-electrified households in the municipality in the near future.
Participants shared ideas on the findings and contributed new information to enable the researchers to validate the data gathered.
The Municipal Planning Officer, Mr Sampson Slessor Agbeve thanked the team for their effort and resilience in undertaking such a project in conjunction with the Assembly and suggested that they also consider wind energy in their research since the municipality appeared to be conducive for that type of energy.
The team is expected to visit the Awutu East Municipality for a similar exercise.