Renewable Energy Projects as a tool for alleviating Energy Poverty in Ghana ( Case Study: Bui Hydroelectric Project)

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This research work assesses the contrast in ‘energy resource wealth’ and its transformation into ‘energy poverty’ in developing societies. It appraises whether the implementation of a renewable energy project (REP) can act as a tool to alleviate energy poverty in Ghana. Developing nations are endowed with enormous energy resources yet are highly impoverished in energy delivery. These nations depend on unfriendly sources of lights and adopt inefficient wood fuels for cooking purposes. In this research work, questionnaires were administered to a case study population (Bui Village, located in Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana) who have been affected by the implementation of REP, Bui Hydroelectric Project. The snowball approach was used to sample respondents who were affected by a REP. Questions on energy poverty indicators such as source of light, ownership of charging items, food preservation methods were enquired from the respondents before and after the implementation of the REP. Minitab 16 Statistical Software Package was used to analyse the results. The null hypothesis that energy poverty leads to the use of unfriendly sources of light and that for the use of rural food preservation was confirmed by ‘W’ values of 53 and 43.5 respectively from a Mann-Whitney (MW) test. The W value in a MW test must be greater than 39 to accept the null hypothesis made. The null hypothesis that energy poverty leads to the use of less chargeable items yielded a ‘p’ value of 1.0 from a Paired t-test (PTT). The ‘p’ value in a PTT must be greater than 0.05 to accept the null hypothesis made. Majority of the respondents concluded that rural energy was more expensive than modern energy services. The social implication is that the implementation of a REP reduces energy unfriendly services (e.g. oil lamps and lantern for lighting) whilst increasing energy friendly services (e.g. use of rechargeable lamps, modern food storage devices). The associated negative health benefits in the use of such unfriendly energy services which causes the inflammation of the airwaves and lungs as well as the impairment of the immune system in affected populace are reduced.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy Technology,