Biomass Energy: A Sustainable Source of Energy for Development in Ghana
Department of Forest and Wood Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Department of Interior Architecture and Furniture Production, Kumasi Polytechnic, Kumasi-Ashanti, Ghana
Keywords: Biomass, Bioenergy, Energy, Renewable energy, Climate change, Ghana.
Ghana is well endowed with a variety of energy resources including biomass, hydrocarbons, hydropower, solar and wind. However, in recent times Ghana’s energy sector has being bedeviled with the inability of power producers to meet demand. The current spate of power outages in the country has created anger, frustrations and demonstrations in the country. Inadequate and unreliable power supply has thus become one of the major constraints to the future economic growth of the nation. In recent times, the energy debate in Ghana has only being centered on the shortage of electricity maligning the many other forms of energy within the energy sector. This paper explores some issues on the potential development of bioenergy in Ghana as an alternative and sustainable source of energy for the country by looking at Ghana’s energy situation, energy crisis, policy framework, biomass/bioenergy in Ghana, Socio-economic and environmental benefits of bioenergy and challenges to bioenergy. Ghana has significant biomass resources that provide for the majority of domestic energy use. Among the various renewable energy resources and technologies, bioenergy is the most promising. The development of biofuel may enable Ghana to achieve energy security, reduce oil import bill and save foreign exchange. It may also provide an avenue to reduce poverty and wealth creation through employment generation, increase export earning potential and finally contribute to climate change mitigation. Access to clean, modern and sustainable energy is also critical for improving the health and livelihoods of millions of people in Ghana. Bioenergy can no longer just be considered as ‘the poor person’s fuel’ but rather be recognized as an energy source that can provide the modern consumer with convenient, reliable and affordable services.