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Raising Standards for Renewables Integration in Ghana

Ravi Subramaniam, Director, IEEE Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP)

It started with an interaction at an IEEE conference a little more than a year ago. An engineer from the Electricity Company of Ghana Ltd. stopped by the IEEE Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP) booth. We talked about his country’s energy landscape and goals, and we talked about IEEE standards and conformity assessment activities in grid modernization, such as IEEE 1547™—IEEE Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems. It turned out there was plenty of common ground to be shared.

Ghana has a population of about 30 million people and goals to modernize its economy to achieve a more reliable and efficient energy landscape. According to Ghana’s Ministry of Energy, Ghana is well endowed with renewable energy resources which are yet to be fully exploited. These include biomass, hydropower potentials, wind potentials along the coast and high solar irradiation. Renewable energy currently contributes 1% to the energy mix. Ghana’s Energy Ministry also has the vision to become an energy economy with reliable supply domestically and an abundance to export to neighboring African nations.

To augment and improve the situation, the Ghana Energy Commission is updating the National Electricity Grid Code and Electricity Distribution Code to rely more heavily on renewable energy sources.

In markets around the world, IEEE 1547, initially approved in 2003, has informed federal legislation and rule making, regulatory deliberations and critical utility engineering and business practices for distributed energy resources (DERs). The U.S. National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Electricity Committee, for example, recently has proposed a resolution to the board recommending adoption and implementation of the standard. IEEE 1547 provides technical specifications for the interconnection and interoperability between utility electric power systems and of DERs of any type and size, addressing performance, operation, testing, safety considerations and maintenance of the interconnection.

In November 2019, the Ghana Energy Commission and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) hosted a workshop on the IEEE 1547 standard and the IEEE 1547 Conformity Assessment Program, at the ECG Training School in Tema for regulators and DER stakeholders. As a precursor to the event, the commissioning of a 20 Megawatt DER interconnection owned and operated by Meinergy in Winneba, Ghana, was performed per the requirements of the IEEE 1547 standard and the IEEE 1547 Conformity Assessment Program commissioning process.

The events, which all started from a grassroots-level discussion a year prior, was very well received. In an 8 November 2019 article by Michael Creg Afful, “Ghana: Energy Commission To Update Electricity Distribution Codes- Ing. Amonoo-Neizer,” Energy News Africa reported comments from Rev. Oscar Amonoo-Neizer, who is the Ghana Energy Commission’s executive secretary:

Ing. Amonoo-Neizer noted that the IEEE 1547 and IEEE Conformity Assessment Programme (ICAP) certification programme would be crucial tools in Ghana’s ongoing adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs).

“It’s extremely challenging for the world’s policy makers to simultaneously keep on top of today’s dramatically changing technical landscape, anticipate tomorrow’s innovations and wisely evolve policies and regulations,” he observed.

He, therefore, described open consensus standards such as the IEEE 1547 as an indispensable connection fabric between the world’s technology and policy developers.

He explained that the ICAP certification process provides a singularly dependable and proven process for assuring IEEE 1547 commissioning compliance implementation and interconnection of DERs of any type or size.

He thanked the IEEE team for organizing the workshop and further encouraged participants to take full advantage and learn effectively.

IEEE 1547 and its associated ICAP process are indispensable resources for any country who, like Ghana, is seeking to expand its reliance on DERs. The standard is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store. White papers summarizing the IEEE 1547 Conformity Assessment Program and outlining the ICAP commissioning procedure are available from IEEE, and on-demand videos from previous IEEE 1547 workshops are available for a nominal fee via IEEE.tv. Furthermore, ICAP is exploring creation of a team of trained, credentialed engineers proven in their ability, to commission sites to IEEE 1547.

If you are interested in learning more about the standard, participating on the commissioning team or learning more about the program, please reach out to us at connect_der@ieee.org.

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Guest Contributor

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) is a leading consensus building organization that nurtures, develops, and advances global technologies. Providing a neutral and open platform to empower innovators across borders and disciplines, IEEE SA facilitates standards development and standards related solutions, such as technology incubation, alliance consortia formation, open source, etc. With collaborative thought leaders in more than 160 countries, we enable the collaborative exploration of emerging technologies, the identification of existing challenges and opportunities, and the development of recommendations, solutions, and technology standards that solve market-relevant problems. Collectively, we are raising the standards that benefit industry and humanity; making technology better, safer, and sustainable for the future.

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