Magazine article Geographical

Out of the Dark

Magazine article Geographical

Out of the Dark

Article excerpt

As a dried-up dam starts to refill, and a push towards cleaner, renewable energy gets underway, many are still asking if Ghana's chronic power cuts will ever come to an end?

It is with nervous relief that Ghana is finally embracing an improvement to its ongoing electricity crisis. For the past five years, the country has been plagued with blackouts. In that time, small businesses have crumbled, families have relied on costly and polluting home generators, and, in hospitals, babies have been born by the glowing, blueish light of smartphones.

The crisis came mostly from a lack of supply. Ghana's strong, growing economy, along with a rapidly urbanising population, has meant that demand for electricity has increased by 300 per cent in the past 50 years. To make matters worse, the supply that should have been available simply wasn't there. Gas usually imported from Nigeria has been unreliable, thermal plants have not delivered on promises and, crucially, its prodigal Akosombo Dam has been running dry.

'The Akosombo Dam is the largest source of power in Ghana,' says Dr Ishmael Ackah, Head of Policy at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy. …

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