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Raymond Okrofu

Founding Team Member

SafiSana Ghana Ltd.

April 20, 2021
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Ep 13: Raymond Okrofu - Founding Team Member, SafiSana Ghana Ltd.
00:00 / 01:04

Adam Zuckerman
So today, we're here with Raymond Okrofu, the Ghana Country Manager at SafiSana, former board member he's now a technical adviser at the German Development Corporation. Raymond, it's fantastic to have you here today. Thanks for joining.

Raymond Okrofu
Thank you, Adam is a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Adam Zuckerman
Of course. Now, you have a background in agriculture. You shifted to environmental science, you're one of the country's leading experts in energy. Tell us about your background. How do you get your start? How did you end up where you are today?

Raymond Okrofu
Great. Okay, so I like you rightly put it I started with agriculture. My bachelor's degree was in agriculture from the University of Cape Coast. So I started working, first of all, as a trade unionist with the trade union movement, the Agriculture Trade Union of Ghana. Then, along the line, I got a job with a UK based company known as CO2 Balance. CO2 Balance is a carbon credit organization. So there's a link between agric and carbon credit or clean cooking. So that was the link that took me to environmental science. So I took up a course in environmental science. And then I became an environmentalist. And that's also shifted my focus a little bit to see what can be done for the environment. And I found myself in waste to power and that is what took me to SafiSana Ghana Limited where I became a board member and a manager. So that's, that's my LinkedIn. So in SafiSana, we're doing waste to power. So using municipal solid waste and figure ways to generate biogas and use the gas to produce electricity.

Adam Zuckerman
That's fascinating. We will get to SafiSana in a moment. But before we do, we have many, many listeners of the podcast who aren't as familiar with sub regions in Africa as others. We're specifically talking about Ghana today. It's located in Western Africa, it's on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. The country has long been seen as a role model for the African world. Congratulations. It is your your journey that you've made this possible. And it's a fairly sizable country as well. 28 million inhabitants, half of which are living in cities, I believe. And it's a bit smaller than Oregon, a bit larger than Idaho. So listeners, there's your context. Raymond, you've witnessed firsthand, Ghana has advanced to clean energy. What has that journey been like for you?

Raymond Okrofu
Whoa, is good. Adam now, the population of Ghana is a bit over 30 million now. Growing? Yes, a little over 30 million now. Yeah. Okay, so the energy transition in Ghana has been really, I would say dramatic. Because just about five, six years ago, Ghana was grossly energy deficient. We didn't have enough energy at all. We even have a word that is coined out of the challenges we went through, we call it dumsor. Dumsor simply means power on and off. So we were doing load shedding. Sometimes you have power for a day, and then you are off for 48 hours, and then you get it for maybe 24 hours. And then in local parlance, we call it dumsaa. So that has been we if we went through that for about five years, and it was very, very hectic, it had a lot of negative influence on productivity and has a lot of negative influence on growth in general. And in fact, the whole country nobody liked it. It became a huge political issue. Until somewhere in the middle of 2016, the country started signing a number of power purchase agreements that made a lot of independent power producers enter into the market. And today, the story has completely changed is completely over. We have overcapacity in Ghana, we are producing almost double of what we need as a country and the excess. I'm sure we will talk about that one along the line, but we have a lot of excess power now in the system. So

Adam Zuckerman
Let's break that down a little bit. So before were independent power producers legally allowed to operate or was it a new initiative? And because of a new initiative, there was so much development that you got to the point of oversupply?

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah. Okay. So traditionally, Ghana has depended heavily on hydro power, we have two big hydro plants, that was supplying about 60% of the needs of the country, if I used to be 100%, from hydro, until we had a few thermal plants to add to the hydro. Now, in 2011 Ghana also developed the Renewable Energy Act, which is what also makes way for people to go, independent power producers to come into the market with some amount of renewable energy. So that over dependence on the hydro actually made it difficult for us to have enough power and also between the period between around 2010 to 2015 there have been massive growth in industry. And then Ghana also wants to, we want to be one of the countries with the highest energy penetration. So we're connecting a lot of rural areas onto the national grid to absorb a lot of power from the system. So there was a huge shortage of electricity. And that's what created the challenge.

Adam Zuckerman
Now, it's curious, though, if Ghana has such tremendous oversupply of energy right now, my understanding is that it's one of the countries in the region that has the highest cost of energy that doesn't seem to to harmonize well, what's going on with the market?

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah, that's a paradox, actually. We have a lot, actually in excess. But the market isn't that friendly, the cost of generation of this power is very, very high, we have a situation where some of the independent part, which is agreements we signed, were signed in a rush, because we're in a rush to come out of the challenge we had. So some of those agreements or contracts were not, did not actually go through proper due diligence. So the cost of generation is so high, and it has to be passed on to the final consumer. There's also a paradox where we have a lot of rural communities connected onto the grid, where this communities are consuming electricity, but most of them don't have a lot of money to pay. So there's cross subsidization of power from the government. So you see that there's the power sector is hugely subsidized by industry to pay for residential use. And all that makes makes it very, very difficult to to manage the power sector properly. Now, another reason why this cost is so huge, is that Ghana has about 85% electricity penetration, which is one of the highest in the sub region. So people are even predicting that by 2025, the whole country will be connected to the grid. Now, there are some instances of some places that are really difficult to reach. But we have extended the grid to all these places and use a lot of money to buy transformers and equipment to get to those difficult places. And all that is a lot of cost, which is brought on to the final user. So these are challenges we have in the system that is accounting for that.

Adam Zuckerman
So industry is oftentimes subsidizing the high cost of electricity. Specifically for rural residential, difficult low income areas that almost has a counterproductive effect of stymieing industry growth, which is required to help local populations get jobs have income so they can pay more. So what is that political dynamic and debate in the country? Are people saying, oh, we have to right size the system, we need to change the tariff structure? Or is that not something that's currently being discussed?

Raymond Okrofu
Definitely. I agree with you, Adam. That is a great discussion. Now, the industrial community, led by the Association of Ghana Industries is the biggest trade association we have in Ghana. Seriously agitating for this to change. It was a political issue in our recent elections we had in December, this issue was heavily debated. And I am very sure that in a very short time, this issue is going to change. There are also a lot of independent power generators that are trying to give different financing models to industry players. So some of this is putting a lot of pressure on the managers of electricity. And we are very sure that it won't be long this decision will change because we think that it should be the other way around. Residential uses you'd rather subsidize for industry, if nothing at all, everybody should pay for the product consumed, not the other way around, so that industry can grow and the country will develop.

Adam Zuckerman
How are prices set in the country? Is there a system where there's an open market? Can independent power producers? If they find an industrial cluster or a large industrial off taker, can they contract directly? Similar to Nigeria, they have the willing buyer willing seller schematic? Is there something like that in Ghana, or is it different?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so this is a mixture of situations we have in Ghana, that the law for renewable energy works differently from that of conventional power. And then at the point, they also converge. So like I mentioned, the Renewable Energy Act was passed in 2011. And it gave some feed in tariff for different categories of technologies. So there's a tariff for solar started for biomass they started for wind tariffs or all that. Then that gave the likes of SafiSana to enter into the market and generate power connected directly onto the grid. And there are a few renewable energy companies that are on the grid. For now, as I speak to you, just around November, December last year, the law has been amended. So for now, we don't have of course, you can imagine the situation we have now we have excess power, we need to regulate more production of electricity, so we can make use of what we have now. So this law has been amended to not to give a blanket opening to people to just enter the market and produce so now, there's no feeling tariff, any independent power producer has to go through competitive tendering. So the main power distributor, the electricity company of Ghana has to request for power and then independent power producers must tender and then go in. So the one with the best, you know, gets to produce the power. So this is what we have for renewable energy was differently for the demo and the other other ones.

Adam Zuckerman
Okay so you mentioned industry earlier, what are a few of the largest industries that use the most electricity in Ghana?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so we have some steel industries. We have mining in this a lot of mining going on in Ghana, lots and lots of mining industries are taking place. And then we also have some aluminium companies also in the industrial hub of Ghana, and they also do a lot. They also a bit of agro processing companies, also consuming a lot of electricity.

Adam Zuckerman
So hypothetically speaking, then we're going to say that you are leaving the energy industry Raymond it has been great to have you here but you have identified an opportunity to be the CEO and founder of Raymond Steel, Aluminum Inc, and you're going to need a power generation. The equivalent of 50 megawatts annually and megawatt hours but not to make sure that your facility operates effectively. Can you build this on your own? Can you have an IPP supplied directly to you? Or does that IPP have to get a tender issued that they can then reply to?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, that's a great question, Adam. So the law gives that leeway to companies or to industry up to a certain threshold. I'm not very sure about the threshold for conventional electricity. But for renewable, renewable energy I think it's up to 500 megawatts you are you are allowed to do your own generation but beyond then you need to go for a license from the regulators.

Adam Zuckerman
Okay. So you're going to start your your electricity required company and industry and steel all start in IPP, and we can go hang out in Ghana it will be great.

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah, sure. All right.

Adam Zuckerman
Let's skip over the German Development Corporation for now we'll come back to that. You mentioned SafiSana, which I think is an absolutely phenomenal and fascinating project. You were a board member, you switched over to an operational role as well. Can you tell us a little bit about what SafiSana is? When it started? And what do you think people should should know about the project?

Raymond Okrofu
Great, very grateful for this opportunity, because that project is actually my baby. And I I don't get time talking about it.

Adam Zuckerman
Well we can talk for a long time so great conversation.

Raymond Okrofu
Great, good, good. All right. So SafiSana is the name actually, it's a Swahili word from East Africa, it means very clean. SafiSana it means very clean. And it is actually a sanitation project. Okay. And the power bit is just for us to get some income to sustain the sanitation project. So what we started to do was to clean the slum communities within Accra. So we started building facilities for cleaning up the beaches, we started building facilities to cleaning up the market, clean up dilapidated public toilets and things like that. So we now have to take it a step further to find out what can we do with this waste that we are cleaning from the system, then, then came the idea of waste power. And it was just around the same time SafiSana started in 2010. And then in 2011, this Renewable Energy Act was passed. So we took advantage of that and just develop a concept around it. So we built the plant. And then we process about 30 tons of organic waste daily, we put it in, we put it in a huge biogas digester produce electricity. So it's a mixture of solid and liquid waste goes through. So the the, the digester produces the gas, and we use the gas to power a CHP does a combined heat and power system to generate electricity. And it is I'm very proud to say that it is a very first grid connected biogas plant in Ghana and the second in West Africa. Yeah, so we're the first to actually test the Renewable Energy Act, from licensing to operation. So the Act was passed and then we had to go through it and see whether all the stages that was mentioned in the act was actually applicable. So we went through it from beginning to the end.

Adam Zuckerman
How long did that process take from the ideation of we have this identified potential to actually delivering energy to the grid?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so let me let me put it this way. So first of all, from 2010, we started to pilot the whole idea, because it was a new, there were no examples to copy from. So we just tried to break our heads together. So we built a miniature plant to test the whole idea. So we did that for about three years. And then African Development Bank and the Dutch Embassy in Ghana, actually saw our miniature plant, and they decided to fund the scale up project. So they give us a grant. Yes, so they give us a grant. And we used the grant to build to scale it up to the current level. And this grant came to us in around 2013. And then we started putting everything together actual construction of the concrete works actually started in somewhere in the middle of 2015. But before then we did a lot of paperwork, getting licensing all that started from somewhere 2014. So if you're talking about the concept to power started from 2014-2016. So about two years, getting licenses, getting all the documentation and permits everything.

Adam Zuckerman
But actual construction took one year, I imagine that process must have been very complicated and challenging.

Raymond Okrofu
Very, very, very, very challenging. It was it was new to everybody, all the people in the system, nobody wants to make a mistake. Nobody wants to rock the boat either. And it was really difficult. We had to go through at a point we had to get a permit from the Office of the President because we needed some agreements to be made, which permission could only come from the President himself.

Adam Zuckerman
Explain what type of conversation had to take place with the president saying we're going to take waste matter for energy and clean up the slums? It's a wonderful story, but I imagine even getting that meeting would be challenging.

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah, very challenging. Okay, so Africa Development Bank gave us a condition they have funds can only go through public institutions, and SafiSana is a private institution. So the only way they could give us the funds was to sign a public private partnership agreement with us so that the whole project will have a public outlook. And signing that agreement for the municipality that we're partnering with. That permission has to come from all the way from the top. That's number one. Number two, we also needed some tax exemptions to bring in the equipment, the power generator that we needed to bring in and getting tax exemption, or for import tariffs and all that. It was such a difficult process, we met parliamentarians along the line, we met ministers, and we ended up in the Office of the President to sign the purchase agreement and also to get the permission to get the input tariff waived for the equipment.

Adam Zuckerman
So for the African Development Bank, if you weren't trying to get money from them then you would not have needed to get the approval from the president. But they put the requirement that it had to go through a public entity.

Raymond Okrofu
Exactly.

Adam Zuckerman
And that seems like it's it's almost an unusual win for you all, congratulations on that front. That development banks normally only invest in significantly sized infrastructure projects that are 100% proven, you're coming off from a pilot from a proof of concept. What was that conversation like?

Raymond Okrofu
Ah, okay, so at the time, I think we just were just lucky, this thing, the whole thing started from happening out just at the right time, everything came together at the right time. So the time Ghana passed the Renewable Energy Act, then Africa Development Bank also had a fund, they call it Africa Water Facility. So it's a fund that the bank was managing. So this facility was actually also supposed to test this type of ideas on the continent. So we saw as a pilot in the we saw ourselves as a as a scale out rigid, but they considered us as a pilot, and to be sincere with you at the time we got that funding. There were about 23 similar projects they were funding on the continent, and only SafiSana became successful.

Adam Zuckerman
What differentiated your team and your ability and your capability from the other 20 some odd endeavors?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so I think number one, we had a very motivated team, very young guys, very, very motivated team of people and then the managers or let me say the owners who are Dutch were also really motivated and they just everybody wanted to see this come true. And also, we learned a lot of lessons from the pilot. We run for close to three years. We learned so much So everything was just happening at the right time. So yeah, it, I will say that we're lucky on one hand, but on the other hand, I think it's also the great people we had around us. And we did a lot of consultation, we spoke to everybody that matter in the industry in Ghana, we spoke to a wide range of people, we did a lot of consultation. And we form one significant thing that made the project really succeed in the area. In Ghana, Accra there's a place called Ashaiman, is the biggest slum community, we have there are a lot of challenges working in that environment. But what we did was that we quickly formed a committee of local people, we brought them together. And they made sure we make sure they understood the project and the vendor community is going to get so they were very, very, very helpful. They did a lot of charity work did help us to mobilize resources. Locally, it was great.

Adam Zuckerman
You have a list of all the various stakeholders that you had to touch and convince and engage with, it must be hundreds of people

Raymond Okrofu
Hundreds of people up to us one of the...the bank set for us. So we surely have that list. The Africa Development Bank, we needed to report like every quarter, and this list was one of the biggest thing they were always looking for. So definitely, that list is there.

Adam Zuckerman
After this is over, send me pictures of the launch party. I want to see the massive crowd at the facility.

Raymond Okrofu
Yes, it was great. The president himself was there. Yes, the president at the time visited us a few days ahead or the official launch. But on the day of the launch, we had two ministers who came with the whole community with the local chiefs. And everybody was there. It was a great ceremony.

Adam Zuckerman
Oh, that's wonderful. Send it send me pictures. Now today, the recycling plant helps over 50,000 people online, it says that there is 9700 tons of organic waste treated per year, 3600 tons of fecal waste per year, 600 megawatt hours of energy produced every year. These are fantastic, fantastic statistics. Are you planning to replicate the model in other industries or other locations in the country?

Raymond Okrofu
Yes, definitely. Although I'm no longer a service, and I still have a lot of conversations with them, I still help them on so many issues. And this is one of the conversations we are having currently. First of all, we are optimizing the efficiency of the plant, we are doing a number of things to make sure that the plant will can even take in more waste without necessarily expanding the size, but then taking more ways. And then also employ more people, generate more power. That's one way. The second one is to definitely replicate this. Before I left we did a number of feasibility studies, about six feasibility studies, in different parts of Ghana. And I know for a fact that the guys there now visiting some of these sites and getting ready to build the second one, the challenge we had is what I told you already that the law has been amended, we cannot just put this power directly on the grid as easy as the first one. So we are now talking to the electricity company of Ghana to see what we can do with that power. And they have to agree for us to hook it to the grid.

Adam Zuckerman
Okay, one more topic. Before we shift over to the German Development Corporation. You mentioned that the Dutch were the funders for this project in conjunction with the African Development Bank. Why are the Dutch interested in supporting the economy and supporting clean energy production in the country? What was their role?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so the Dutch have been in development work in Ghana for so many years. They've been in agriculture. They've been in energy. They've been in sanitation. They've been in a few other areas for several years. So this particular project only fell in line with one of the support areas. And the ambassador at the time, the name has just escaped me was very enthusiastic about about it. And the one who took over from him was currently in Ghana. Now the ambassador who took over from the previous one, he is called a forgotten name. Again, I'll tell you the names later on. They are so much happy about this. Because once again, for most of the projects they have sponsored in Ghana, SafiSana continues to be a star. So all the time we get tons and tons of visitors, dozens of visitors almost on daily basis, come and see what our money is doing, come and see how fantastic they are doing. And everyday, there are a lot, a lot of people, students are coming, researchers are coming, people are coming. And you know that the uniqueness of the project cuts across many sectors, there's sanitation in there, there's a energy in there, and then we use the residue, after harvesting the gas, we use the residue to prove to process organic fertilizer, right, so we dry the effluent, the water, the effluent gets the dry matter, compost, it becomes organic fertilizer. So there's an agriculture aspect of the whole project. And then we even added something which is very unique to it because we we use part of the fertilizer to build a nursery. So we had a greenhouse, where we're using the fertilizer to grow seedlings, vegetable seedlings, and the farmers are so happy because we're growing very high quality seedlings, and then they buy seedlings and grow. So there's a big business angle, another business angle to the whole thing.

Adam Zuckerman
I feel like that. I feel like that's a bit of your personal touch on it. Given that you

Raymond Okrofu
Definitely

Adam Zuckerman
You've been the executive director twice now at the Center for Agricultural Research and Development that that seems like a pet project for you. But I love the idea of it.

Raymond Okrofu
Thank you. Thank you.

Adam Zuckerman
Yes, SafiSana is doing unbelievably well, the Dutch are supporting it every single day people are coming through the facility touring it next time I come to Accra, you need to get me a personal tour, I'd love to see you in person. But you made it a challenge is challenging decision to leave and you join the German Development Corporation. What is the GDC? What's their role? Why are they in Ghana as well? What are you doing there? Get the listeners up to speed.

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, nice. So the German Development Cooperation is another great international development cooperate, is one of the development outlets, a foreign development outlet of the German government. So almost all the foreign aid that comes from the German government to Ghana passes through the German Development Cooperation. And they are not only in Ghana, in several countries across the world, GiZ is is represented and in Ghana GiZ seem to agree into governance into energy. So many health and a lot plastic waste recycling environmental issues, GiZ is supporting a lot of this. My project specifically that I'm working on, is and this is one of the reasons why I decided to even take up this appointment is to actually create bigger access, or better access for renewable energy. Because I see the work we did in SafiSana, if we don't have the market or the nebula environment, the likes of SafiSana cannot flourish. So we need to ensure that there is good market for renewable energy that the laws are working, we needed to be sure that the policies are actually forward looking. So this is what I am doing currently to help the business community as well as their regulators. The main regulator in this case is the Energy Commission of Ghana. And then so the Energy Commission of Ghana has the powers to regulate the technical aspects of renewable energy, and then the Public Utility Regulatory Authority, we call that PURC, they also have the powers to regulate the financial aspects of energy in Ghana. So these two forms, critical institutions that have all the powers to do proper regulations and all that. So this is what we are giving them a lot of support, and from the demand side as well. The Association of Ghana industries are the industry people in Ghana, how do they position themselves to understand the changing trends in the market this is my role in,

Adam Zuckerman
So where do those two organizations sit in the hierarchy of entities in the country? Are they below a Ministry? Are they independent organizations? What's the framework?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, great. So the Energy Commission is actually directly under the Ministry of Energy. But the PURC, we regulate the the financial angle, actually reports directly to the Office of the President. So they are directly under the Office of the President. And then the Energy Commission reports to the Ministry. Yeah, so at the point the to converge anyway. But then, yeah, this is the structure.

Adam Zuckerman
So you focus on the regulatory framework, you're focusing on policy issues, you're meeting with the the individuals at the organizations who are setting the framework that allows renewables to operate and flourish in the country? Where do you think things are going? And what challenges have you identified that need to be addressed?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so first of all the challenges, some of the challenges have been addressed already, we participated heavily in the review of the Renewable Energy Act, which I mentioned already was amended in December last year. It was, after we operated the act from 2011, to 2020 a lot of lessons have been learned. And then we realize certain things cannot work or are not working well. So we made a lot of proposals. And those days have been changed left, thankfully, in the the new Act, or the amended Act. Some other challenges I see going forward: number one, the fact that we have excess power in the system now is actually a challenge for the group of clean and renewable energy, because the main power purchase the electricity company of Ghana, and ordinarily be open to buy power from all producers, but here is the case they have a lot of power in the system the they are not able to sell. So there is a challenge there for independent power producers. And we are looking at this also with the mind of having at least 10% increment in renewable energy by the year 2030. This is what Ghana target Ghana set for itself that in 2030, we should have at least 10% increment in renewable energy production.

Adam Zuckerman
Is that a goal? Or is it a strict requirement that if it is not met, there's a penalty that enforces?

Raymond Okrofu
Well, it's a goal as part of the NDCs that Ghana set for itself, the National Determined Contributions arising out of the Paris Declaration. So this is a goal, actually, the deadline was supposed to be 2020. And then in 2020, we realize that we're doing just under 2%. So the deadline was moved to 2030. You can already one year is gone. And, well, this is so this is a huge challenge. So something has to really change. Otherwise, the way it is now, I don't foresee us making that in the next 10 years.

Adam Zuckerman
So as the electricity matrix changes and renewables begin to assume a larger share, is there dirty energy that is scheduled to be decommissioned? Or if not scheduled to be decommissioned will they just shut down and be forced to close based on price based on regulation based on something else? So where's that cross point of where existing entities start falling off and you think renewables will, will pick up the slack?

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah, so I don't think they will shut down and I don't think they should shut down. What is happening is that the current government has a fantastic idea of building one factory in every administrative district. We have in Ghana, we have about 274 districts in Ghana, and that the government made a very profound statement that they want to build an industry in each of these districts, they have actually started some working, some are still under construction and all that. Now, if all these things come into into effect, they'll definitely be a huge demand for electricity. Secondly, Ghana has, Africa has just started Africa Free Trade Continental Area. Now, this initiative is supposed to improve trade, Intra-African trade. And we are hoping that this is going to make a bring a lot of competition among industry players. So people are going to definitely expand their businesses, and they will need a lot more power to do that. And thankfully, Ghana is even the one who's the Secretariat of the Continental Free Trade Area. And this is definitely going to have a lot of impact on demand for electricity. Thirdly, we also have a situation where our neighboring countries, namely Togo, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast are power deficient, so some of the power is already been quilled to these nation's. The problem is that it is still far higher in terms of cost, because of the production because of the production costs. This power can easily not be sold in those countries. And there are a lot of discussions going on to see how to bring down the price, or how to do something about the price for the part to be absorbed by our neighbors.

Adam Zuckerman
Help me understand that a little bit better. So you've got Cote d'Ivoire, to the west, you've got Togo to the east and Burkina Faso, north, there is the organization the West African Power Pool, which I believe that Ghana is a member, which says that we should be able to sell freely energy and electricity between the countries. Yeah, we're cost structure. It's more expensive energy than what's currently being constructed or produced, rather, in the other countries. But assuming it was brought down in price, yeah. Are there transmission lines that are actually in effect and usable right now between the countries that are just underutilized because the cost is too high? Or is it both the cost is too high, and there is no infrastructure to actually sell and deliver the electricity between the countries?

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah, I think you just put it right there infrastructure. The infrastructure is there. Although some of it needs to be revamped. Some of the equipment are obsolete, need to be retooled, and all that. But the infrastructure does exist. We are already shared a lot of power this three countries, even including Nigeria, sharing a lot of power. The traditional generations we had from our hydro and from a few of our thermal plants are already been shared among the countries in the sub region. So those ones go through the West Africa power pool, no problem. But the problem has to do with the new PPAs that we signed. And the prices at which is fine, those those contracts makes it very difficult to put into the into the power pool because of the cost. So number one, I know that one of the options that's available to government is to buy this plant from the owners, and then run it as a nation.

Adam Zuckerman
Is that an eminent domain type process where the government says we are purchasing and the seller cannot say no, they establish the price, or does it have to be a fair market willing trade where there has to be a willing seller, because I imagine that getting somebody to forego a lucrative PPA is not an easy endeavor. In fact, I believe that the Ghanaian government renegotiated some of the PPAs forcefully after the prior administration came in. So what does that process look like?

Raymond Okrofu
Correct. So it's a mix, a lot of PPAs that were assigned, so some of them that their nature just doesn't allow for any renegotiation. So you just have to leave it the way it is. Some of them thankfully, can't be renegotiated. But I can tell you that from 2017 or 2018, they're about we started paying close to $450 million for power not used.

Adam Zuckerman
So there's a tak or pay clause then

Raymond Okrofu
Exactly. So this this, these are some of the challenges.

Adam Zuckerman
Were the PPAs that were executed a varying length and duration, or were they all the same terms. So we have a standard five year PPA a standard 10 year PPA.

Raymond Okrofu
Say again. Sorry?

Adam Zuckerman
Were the PPAs that were signed all the same length and duration, so five years, 10 years 12, 20 whatever they might be, or did each PPA have its own independent negotiation with their own terms that makes it even more difficult for people to harmonize?

Raymond Okrofu
Yeah, I will be very sincere with you. I know for for the renewable energies, they have a 10 year lifespan, but for the, for the Convention on the Term of Plants, I'm not very sure how long but I know every PPA has their own lifespan, which makes it more difficult.

Adam Zuckerman
So let's end this on a high note. What is something that you think that we should have discussed today but we haven't talked about yet?

Raymond Okrofu
Okay, so for me, I for now, I live and I eat a renewable energy. It is all my conversations of renewable energy. But there's a very beautiful angle to the whole topic of clean energy. Yes, we are talking about producing clean energy. But there's also an aspect, we, which seemed to be lost in most of the conversation, that's energy efficiency, because a lot of the energy we produce is lost, is inefficiently use. So one of the aspects we are advocating for seriously is not just generation of more power, but the efficient use of more power, we have a lot of equipment in the systems, that power inefficient, you have a lot of air conditioners in the system refrigerators in the system, that I just wasted in electricity. And we now have a lot of smart way of going around some of these things. And even by the mere nature of how companies or individual homes are wired, we can save a lot of energy and by so do we save a lot of money in the process? So as we are encouraging companies or industry to go renewables, we are also encouraged them to be energy efficient. And this is one of the ways so some companies are retooling, some companies are rewiring their system, some companies are changing their equipment, companies are putting smart meters in place. They're putting sensors in place, a whole lot of these just to cut down on their consumption. And that is an area that I'm very, very much passionate about as well, because it doesn't make sense to generate power only to waste it.

Adam Zuckerman
Raymond, it seems like you have a wonderful challenge and opportunity ahead of you. On behalf of the Energy Impact Podcast we could not leave this on a better note. Raymond, thank you for joining us today. I appreciate it.

Raymond Okrofu
Thank you very much, Adam. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and I look forward to talking to you another time. I'm so grateful.

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