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Improving the Energy Sector Through The World Bank’s GESTIP

It is almost inconceivable that in 1990, when the National Electrification Scheme (NES) was rolled out, only 23% of this country’s population was connected to the national power grid
Today, Ghana enjoys one of the highest electrification rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with 88.85% of the population connected to the grid connected.

In 2023 alone, over 200 communities in the country were connected to the national grid.Challenges Undeniably, however, the country has faced considerable challenges in the energy sector in recent years, including gas supply shortages, high payments for installed capacity to independent power producers, high distribution losses and low revenue collections by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) among several others.

To address these challenges, Ghana has implemented a wide range of power sector reforms, including unbundling its power sector and attracting private investment through independent power producers to improve supply of electricity.

GESTIP interventionThe World Bank, through the Ghana Energy Sector Transformation and Initiative Project (GESTIP) has sought to provide relevant technical assistance intervention to support the country’s energy sector reforms.

The $20m project, which became effective in February 2019 and closed on 31 December 2023, had the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Energy Commission (EC), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Northern Electricity Development Company (NEDCo), Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Ministry of Energy as its beneficiaries.

The project development objectives were to strengthen the capacity of the power sector to plan and implement sector reforms and improve energy sector planning and coordination in Ghana.
The project also had five principal components, comprising management of power sector financial flows, sector planning and coordination, energy access, natural gas and project management.

Key achievementsUnder GESTIP, 46 consultancy activities have been undertaken to resource the beneficiary institutions with the required knowledge and information to further improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

Further, the necessary software and hardware tools have been procured for some of the beneficiary institutions, In all, 142 energy sector staff have been trained in technical fields as well as project management to build their capacity to implement reforms in the sector.

Success stories two citizen engagement meetings held in Accra and Tamale in December just before the project was wrapped up, some of the beneficiary agencies had the opportunity to present their success stories under GESTIP.

For instance, as part of its policy target of achieving universal electricity access by 2030, and to adequately appreciate the technical, financial and investment implications of completing what is referred to as the ‘last-mile electrification’, the Ministry of Energy procured the services of a consultant to prepare a feasibility and planning study with funding support from the World Bank under GESTIP.

The purpose of this study is to provide a revised National Electrification Scheme and plan that responds to the exigencies of last-mile electrification in Ghana.
Further, it will inform Government of the required annual investment necessary to achieve universal access.

NEDCo also had a positive story to tell, in line with its broad objective to improve service delivery in its catchment area, primarily in the northern part of Ghana.
Specifically, the GESTIP project helped identify the need for various substations and Bulk Supply Points(BSPs) in Lamashegu, Tamale, Kpandai, and Bongo, with financing secured for some and construction has already commenced in the case of the Lamashegu substation in Tamale.

The national power transmitter, GRIDCo also provided an update on the upgrade of its SCADA/EMS Network Manager System and the Corporate Telecommunication Network under GESTIP.

This is to interconnect all substations and power plants with secure and reliable data connections for enhanced monitoring, control, and protection of the Ghana Power System.

Further, work is almost complete on a Backup Control Centre which will provide business continuity in the dispatch of the Ghana Power System in the event of failure of the main System Control Centre.

The ECG provided an update on its Outage Management Module (OMS) under the project.
The OMS aims to improve grid reliability and minimize outage impact through network digitalization, thereby bridging the gap between call centers and field activities.

The Energy Commission also updated on its National Clean Cooking Strategy and its development of a robust gas demand/supply strategy for the sector, all facilitated under GESTIP.

Looking forwardThe energy sector is of particular central significance to the economy of the country, and has a huge bearing on the quality of our lives. Collaboration with strategic partners such as the World Bank towards improving its growth and robustness is therefore key to national development.

This technical assistance intervention under GESTIP has equipped the institutions with the capacity to deal with the emerging issues in the sector to be able to deliver a working and effective sector for the benefit of all Ghanaians.