Ghana’s energy transition plan criticized for lack of practical steps towards attaining net zero goal

The Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG) has expressed concern over Ghana’s Energy Transition (ET) plan, stating that it lacks practical steps to seize the opportunities that come with achieving the net zero goal. Ghana, which aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, has projected an estimated cost of US$561.8 billion for this transition, according to the National Energy Transition Framework. However, Dr. Steve Manteaw, the Chairman of CSPOG, criticized the country’s approach to transition, describing it as a “business-as-usual attitude,” and suggested that the 2070 target is not ambitious enough to keep up with the country’s energy future.

Dr. Manteaw, who is also the co-chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), argued that the fossil fuel industry in Ghana is not considering transition but rather net zero. He pointed out that without a clear cross-sectorial strategy and action plan, Ghana’s 2070 target will miss many opportunities that the transition affords, such as developing silica sand to become a solar panel hub in Africa. He urged the country to hasten moderately, in a way that does not put it in the tail-end of the race.

During the workshop on ET, which was organized by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), the deputy Director of Renewable and Nuclear Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Dr. Robert Bright Mawuko Sogbadji, argued that Ghana’s estimated cost of US$561.8 billion for net zero emissions is not on the high end. He pointed out that other countries in the sub-region, like Nigeria, aim to spend some US$1 trillion to achieve their net zero target, making Ghana’s investment relatively lower.

Dr. Sogbadji also noted that the country’s projected gross domestic product (GDP) makes the estimated cost of transition realistic and moderate. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects Ghana’s GDP to grow to some US$88 billion by 2027 and US$880 billion by 2070. He maintained that the current economic challenges are temporary, considering the time required for the country to achieve its energy transition goal. He expressed optimism about meeting the ET target and cited the progress made in investments in renewables in the last four years.

Dr. Alex Ampaabeng, a senior economic analyst at NRGI, explained the rationale behind the workshop. He noted that the media and civil social organizations represent a significant segment of Ghanaian society and are key stakeholders whose views and input are vital in the ET process. Given the transition’s gender and equity dimensions, transparency and corruption risks, he emphasized the importance of getting the media and CSOs to understand the energy transition and how the country intends to finance it. This understanding will enable them to play active roles in a just and transparent transition process.

Ghana’s Energy Transition plan is facing criticism for its lack of practical steps to seize the opportunities that come with achieving the net zero goal. The CSPOG and Dr. Manteaw have urged the country to hasten moderately and avoid a business-as-usual attitude. On the other hand, Dr. Sogbadji maintains that the estimated cost for net zero emissions is moderate, and the current economic challenges are temporary. The workshop organized by NRGI emphasizes the importance of understanding the energy transition process and financing it to ensure a just and transparent transition.