Ghana has recently made great strides in developing renewable power with the help of an Israeli-based company named Yam Pro Energy. With the support of this organization, Ghana is on its way to building a wave-energy plant on the coastline of Accra, its capital, in hopes of shifting the nation towards sustainable resources.
Previously, Ghana used the Akosombo dam as an attempt at hydroelectricity to supply both its own country and the electrical needs of surrounding nations like Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. However, as Ghana and West Africa developed, so has the need for more electricity. The Ghana Energy Commission has been so tight on energy that Ghanaians are only guaranteed a maximum of 12 hours of electricity a day. Often times, various areas still do not have sufficient amounts of electricity. Ghanaians call the fickle nature of the electricity “dumsor,” which means “on and off.” People and companies who can afford it invest in generators, a type of machinery that pose significant environmental threats.
Wave technology is not only innovative and inexpensive, but also environmentally friendly as it harnesses energy from a natural resource—the oceans.The new machinery will use the ocean’s crashing waves to harvest and transform hydraulic pressure into electricity. Yam Pro Energy’s CEO stresses the advantages of wave power, such as reduced emissions, high predictability and low-cost maintenance, despite the expensive initial cost to set up the machines. Although the building of these wave-energy plants in Accra will not begin until well into 2017, Yam Pro Energy has secured Ghana’s coast for construction.The biggest challenge by far is assessing the energy plants’ durability to withstand the sea’s harsh environments. There are a number of prototypes already in use, but the pertinent question of how these machines will perform in the long-run remains. Yam Pro Energy suggested frequent maintenance.
One cannot expect the development of this wave technology to match the rapid growth of solar and wind energy, but Mark Jacobson, director of The Solutions Project at Stanford University, says these machines will complement other renewable energy technologies and that wave technology is “definitely worthwhile doing.”