VRA Deserves Applause for Choosing Wind Power over Coal

Earlier this week, the environmental movement in Ghana was thrown into frenzy, following the announcement by the Volta River Authority (VRA) of its plans to construct a 150MW wind power plant to supplement power generation in the country. The project to be completed in two phases is said to be under the Renewable Development Programme of the organization, Ghana’s main electric power utility corporation.


A wind farm in Kenya

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) and other campaigners and supporters of renewable energy took to social media minutes after the media announcement to celebrate the impending and inevitable victory of clean energy over dirty energy— demonstrating the underlining relevance rather than a superficial reveling, considering the Ghana government, just a couple of months ago was advancing plans to build a 2x350MW coal fired plant in the Ekumfi Aboano with coal imports from South Africa.

The fuss here is about the VRA’s sharp U-turn on the subject of coal and now wind power. Before campaigners from GYEM took on the idea of importing pollution from coal into the country with coordinated street campaigns in support of renewable energy, notably solar and wind power, the VRA’s position on dirty energy was unequivocal: the country needed to diversify it’s existing energy portfolio with a cheaper, proven and reliable technology to help optimize hydro resources and they believed coal power was the way to go.

In a statement announcing the 150MW wind power project, their position seemed to have been altered incredibly in just a few months in favor of renewables. The Principal Engineer for Renewable and Integrated Resource Development of the VRA, Mr. Ebenezer Antwi declaring that “technology in renewable energy had matured and the cost declined over the years, making it cheaper, therefore the need to consider wind and solar energy to ease pressure on hydro power generation”.

The most relevant point here is that the government acknowledges that the cost of renewable energy is tumbling incredibly at an unprecedented pace globally that it makes the mantra that fossil fuels are cheaper pretty underwhelming and factually fraudulent.

A recent report by Bloomberg indicates that renewables are beating fossil fuels 2 to 1. It indicates that “while two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels”.

This is a fact not open for argument and one will wonder why it took the Government of Ghana that long to notice it. But this is why the VRA deserves applause. They have recognized that politics is about policy and policy is about the search of alternatives— outcomes that are better than others. Wind and solar will keep expanding at record rates and we have to plug ourselves into the opportunities they offer to transition into a low carbon economy and towards climate resilience as outlined by our National Climate Change Policy (NCCP).

It is now or never!

WaterAid Ghana Photography Competition


Climate Change is Water Change – through your lens! (A WaterAid Ghana funded project run by GYEM)

Join us in highlighting the linkages between Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Climate Change!

Climate change is water change. More floods, droughts and rising sea levels all have implications for WASH services. We hope this competition inspires people throughout all the 10 regions of this country to use their photography skills to engage with the theme of ‘Climate Change is Water Change’.

Take a photograph that communicates the theme and send to Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) email account: gyemgh@gmail.com. The competition is open to Ghanaian residents of all ages, and photographs must have been taken in Ghana. The competition will run from 2 September until 22 October 2016.

For more details, please read Rules of Entry and Terms and Conditions


The winning photographs will form part of WaterAid Ghana (WAG) photography portfolio. They will be published and promoted on the organizers website and social media accounts. The decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into. All winners will be notified by email on/by the weekend of 4th week in October.

1st Prize
The photographer with the picture judged by a panel of judges to be the best overall will receive a total prize worth GHC800.

2nd Prize
The photographer with the picture judged by a panel of judges to be the second best will receive a total prize worth GHC500

3rd Prize
The third prize is worth GHC300 

Social media

Follow us on Twitter: @gyemgh / @WaterAid_Ghana
Like us on Facebook

Download and print the Competition poster to help spread the word.

Before entering the Competition, please ensure you have read, and agree to, the Terms and Conditions

Rules of Entry, Terms and Conditions

Terms and Condition


Please note that the competition rules (‘Rules’) is binding. Any queries about the Rules should be sent to gyemgh@gmail.com

The Photography Competition is funded by WaterAid Ghana and run by Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM).

Participation in the Competition

Eligibility criteria

Five individual finalists will be chosen at the close of the competition. An overall winner will be selected from amongst the five finalists.

All entries must be accompanied by an explanation of how the theme, ‘Climate Change is Water Change ’ is represented. The explanatory text shouldn’t exceed 140 characters.

All entries meeting the conditions of entry will be published on the organizers website and its social media platforms.

Entries will be shortlisted by a judging panel consisting of professionals with backgrounds in photography, climate change and WASH.

Conditions of entry

By entering the Competition, the entrant agrees to maintain the highest standards in all actions and communications relating to the Competition and not to do or say anything that does or might damage the reputation of WAG, the Competition, or the other entrants. Entrants accept that by entering into the Competition they do not have any rights to any intellectual property of the Competition and/or the organizers. Entrants also agree not to use any names, logos or other intellectual property of the Competition or the WAG, or to make any public statement regarding the Competition, WAG or the other entrants without the prior written consent of the organizers.

It is the responsibility of each entrant into the Competition to ensure that they have read, and to abide by, the Competition’s Rules By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to abide by these Rules and to ensure that their entry complies with the Rules. Any entry that does not comply with the Rules will not be published on the organizer’s website or social media accounts, and will be disqualified. Winning entries which may later be found to have infringed any of the Competition’s Rules, will have their prizes withdrawn.

Entrants are not permitted to submit entries that: (i) have previously been awarded any prize, recommendation or other award in a national or international competition, (ii) depict obscene, offensive or pornographic images.

WAG has the final and binding decision on all matters relating to the Competition. No negotiation will be considered. WAG reserves the right to amend the Rules and to waive breach of the Rules at their sole discretion, acting reasonably.

Entrants are expected to submit entries that are consistent with the purpose and spirit of the Competition.

Information provided in the caption and description that accompanies the image must be complete, true and accurate. Captions and descriptions must not contain profanity or offensive language.

Entrants are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any national or international legislation that may apply and for securing any relevant permits that may be required for their photography.

If images include human subjects, the subject’s permission for their image to be used must be secured prior to entry and made available on request by WAG.

Prize winners will be notified in strict confidence by email. It is a condition of entry that the entrant does not disclose the details of winning entries to any third party until the official results are announced by the organisers. Failure to adhere to this condition may lead to disqualification.

Prizes are non-transferable and there are no alternatives.

By entering the competition, entrants agree that if their entry is selected by the judges for an award, they will participate in related publicity and agree to the use of their name and their entry in advertising, promotion and publicity of the Competition without additional compensation.

Submitted photos

Entries must be submitted in JPEG, PNG or TIFF format.

Entries should not exceed a maximum size of 4MB.

No borders, watermarks or signatures are to be included.

Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of an acceptable quality will not be published on the organizers website or social media accounts, and the entry will be disqualified.

Digital adjustments, such as and including the following: burning, cropping, dodging, sharpening tone and contrast, noise reduction, stitched panoramas and minor cleaning work, are permitted so long as they are reported within the description information and do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent reality.

Composite images are not allowed. Adding, moving or removing objects, animals or parts of animals, plants, people etc. is not permitted.

Smart phone entries are welcomed and encouraged.

Entrants must not include their name in either the photo caption or the description of the entry, or on the image itself.

Grant of Licence

By entering the Competition, the entrant grants WAG a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence to reproduce, publish, exhibit and communicate to the public, by any means and in all media throughout the world. This licence applies in relation to the Competition, any Exhibition and general use by WAG which shall include (with the right to sub-license where necessary) any of the following uses: (i) the process of judging the Competition (including the public vote); (ii) display during Exhibition; (iii) publication in WAG Calendars (iv) publication in other magazines or print media which WAG (or their official partners, supporters, or sponsors) may produce; (v) publication on relevant parts of WAG’s website, including within interactive elements available for viewing or download; (vi) in publicity materials (including social media); (ii) Inclusion in any and all publications associated with the Competition and Exhibition.

Rules of Entry


  • Entrants must be resident in Ghana.
  • Photos must have been taken in Ghana.
  • There is no age restriction for entry into the Competition.
  • One photo submission per entrant.
  • Entries will not be accepted from judges of the Competition or from individuals employed by WAG as well as their families.


The ‘Rules of Entry’ as defined here for the WAG Photography Competition (Rules) incorporate the Competition’s ‘Terms and Conditions’ (Terms). The Terms shall govern in event of conflict. By submitting an entry, you agree to be bound by the Rules and Terms of the Competition.

Competition deadline

The final closing date for entries into the WAG Photography Competition is 22 October 2016.

Entering the Competition

Entries must be made via the organizer’s email at gyemgh@gmail.com:

  • Entrant’s name
  • Entrant’s nationality
  • A photo caption
  • The location of where the photo was taken
  • A photo description explaining why/how the photo represents ‘Climate Change is Water Change’.

Entry acknowledgement 

Your entry into the competition will be acknowledged by email.

If your submitted photo adheres to the Rules and Terms of the Competition it will be approved and displayed on the organizer’s Facebook account. Users will be encouraged to ‘like’ and comment on their favorite photos.

Approved photos will also be published on the organizer’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Judging process

Criteria for judging will be based on:

  • Relation to the theme – how closely does the photography relate to the theme of ‘Climate Change is Water Change’?
  • Composition – how has the shot been framed? What angle is it shot from? What is the subject of the image?
  • Focus – is the subject of the photo immediately clear?
  • Difficulty – how difficult was the shot to obtain?
  • Originality of idea


The winning photographs will form part of WaterAid Ghana (WAG) photography portfolio. They will be published and promoted on the WAG website and social media accounts. The decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into. All winners will be notified by email on/by the weekend of 4th week in October.

1st Prize
The photographer with the picture judged by a panel of judges to be the best overall will receive a total prize worth GHC800.

2nd Prize
The photographer with the picture judged by a panel of judges to be the second best will receive a total prize worth GHC500

3rd Prize
The third prize is worth GHC300

General enquiries

For all enquiries regarding the WAG Photography Competition, please contact gyemgh@gmail.com





Today marks World Environment Day 2016. It is another reminder to humanity to safeguard the environment and protect and preserve the planet for future generations.

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) and key allies— Ghana Youth Climate Coalition (GYCC), Green African Youth Organization (GAYO-Ghana) and Hipsters of Nature acknowledge the role that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandated to play in this regard.

We strongly urge the EPA to put the interest of people and the environment first in all decision-making concerning the 2x350MW coal fired power plant project led by the VRA and Shenzhen Energy Group to commence in April 2017. We particularly encourage the EPA to reject the ‘clean coal’ myth preached by proponents of the plant in an attempt to give impetus to importing coal pollution into Ghana. The Environmental Movement is adequately informed by available research information that:

  • Designation of a technology as a ‘clean coal’ technology does not imply that it reduces emissions to zero or near zero. For this reason, the term ‘clean coal’ is misleading
  • No clean coal technology sufficient to cut emissions from current generators by up to 50 per cent is economically viable at industrial scale or expected to become viable within the next five years
  • According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), state-of-the-art, Ultra-Supercritical (USC) plants can run at up to 46 per cent efficiency. On World Coal Association estimates, those efficiency gains mean a USC plant could emit up to 40 per cent less than a regular, existing power station. It is important to note that the USC technology is even an upgrade over the Supercritical technology to be deployed in Ghana. This technically means the proposed technology in Ghana is likely to be shrouded with more emissions.

On the other hand, investments and employment in renewable energy around the world are rising against all odds:

  1. US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have provided $704k for a100MW solar power project in Ghana
  2. The world’s largest coal supplier The Shenhua Group of China is partnering with SolarReserve, a Carlifornia company to build a giant 1000MW solar plant in China
  3. Portugal reached a zero emission milestone on May 7, 2016 as the whole country was powered by just wind, solar and hydro-generated electricity for 107 hours
  4. Solar generated more power than coal over a 24hr period in early April 2016 to set a new British record. Meanwhile, coal-generation hit historic low several times few weeks after in what experts say are the only occasions since the first coal-fired generator opened in London in 1882
  5. On Sunday May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity
  6. Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world. New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen.

These are just examples of the path the whole world is taking— a transition from dirty energy to clean energy. The World Bank last month offered stark warnings that proposed power plants in India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia would blow Paris climate deal if they move ahead. We believe Ghana should also listen to this counsel.

GYEM will continue to urge the EPA to be firm on its mandate and responsibility to protect the environment without compromising on the health of the people of Ghana and the integrity of our ecosystems.

Cc:     Volta River Authority (VRA)

Ministry of Energy

Ministry of Power

Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI)

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