Ghana obtains its energy supplies from electricity, petroleum, fuelwood, and other renewable energy sources, such as solar. Though electric power constitutes only about 11 percent of Ghana’s energy supply mix, it plays an important role in the country’s economy, powering its industrial, commercial and domestic sectors.

The electricity sub-sector is a key driver of economic growth, and is therefore accorded prominence in Ghana’s Energy policy. Industry and services sectors together account for nearly 65 percent of Ghana’s GDP, and rely critically on electricity.

The 11 percent electricity consumption amounted to about 7,000 GWH in 2008 with a per capita consumption of 350 kWh, lower than the average per capita consumption of 460 kWh for Sub-Sahara Africa, and far lower than the world mean electricity consumption of 2490 KWh per capita (2005). Access to electricity in Ghana is, however, 45% compared to an average of 20 percent for West Africa.

In most countries electricity demand is increasing much faster than overall energy demand. This is partly because in many applications other than heating, using electricity increases efficiency and so means using less energy overall.

Ghana’s supply of electric power is obtained primarily from hydropower generated at the Akosombo and Kpong dams and two thermal plants (light crude oil fired) at Aboadze, near Takoradi, Western Region. On the average, a little over half of the energy is obtained from hydro sources, while the remaining is obtained from thermal

Generally, electricity consumption increases as economies improve and income levels rise, with households moving up the ‘energy ladder’ and converting to cleaner fuels such as gas for cooking and electricity for lighting.

Electricity use per capita is directly proportional to the human development index (HDI). Ghana’s HDI is 0.55 (2005) while its electricity use per cap is 350 kWh. World average HDI is 0.74 and world average electricity use per capita is 2490 kWh. Comparison of Ghana’s electricity use with other countries shows that for Ghana to achieve world average HDI, electricity consumption per capita must increase approximately 8 fold.

For Ghana to reach middle-income status, the country needs to achieve per capita energy consumption between 1500 KWh and 3000 KWh which is comparable to other Middle-income countries world-wide. This implies a corresponding need for Ghana to increase its total installed electricity generating capacity ten-fold, from the current 1,600 MW to about 16,000 MW within the medium to long term. Improvements of this order pose serious challenges that policy makers must commit to address with all urgency.


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