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Ghana Sectors

What is Ghanaʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C aligned targets
Current targets

Power sector in 2030

Ghana’s power sector is dominated by fossil fuels and hydropower. Ghana’s national development planning commission reported that in 2020, fossil fuels (crude oil and natural gas) accounted for 69% of total power generation, followed by 29.9% from hydropower.5 Other sources of renewable energy accounted for only 1.1% of total power generation.5

1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that the country will need to rapidly and extensively reduce its reliance on natural gas and oil to a maximum of 8% of the power mix by 2030. Gas would need to be fully phased out of the power mix by 2035 at the latest, while fossil fuels should be fully phased out by 2040. Similarly, carbon intensity would need to drop from 340 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to a maximum of 40 gCO₂/kWh by 2030. The decarbonisation of the power sector will be driven by a rapid ramp-up of renewable energy with shares rising to 92-99% by 2030, and 100% by 2040.

This stands in contrast with the country’s current goals of expanding natural gas capacities.10 In its updated National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework, Ghana explicitly seeks to promote the exploration of petroleum, and leverage the oil and gas industry for national economic development.5 This institutionalisation of fossil fuel resources into national policy planning frameworks and goals will most likely hinder Ghana’s power sector from being aligned with 1.5°C pathways in a timely manner. The intention to develop natural gas and oil capacities creates the risk of investing in and developing costly stranded assets, given that fossil fuels will need to be phased out in the following decade.

Towards a fully decarbonised power sector

The carbon intensity of Ghana’s power sector would need to decline from 340 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to zero by 2035 to be 1.5°C compatible. This will be driven by the phase out of natural gas and oil from the power mix no later than 2035, with renewable energy contributing 100% of the national power mix by 2040.

The decarbonisation of power will almost exclusively be driven by the uptake of renewable energy, with utility-scale solar, wind and waste-to-energy plants, alongside solar PV and small/medium hydro plants offering the greatest avenues for renewable upscaling.

However, Ghana’s intentions to considerably increase fossil fuel production and the share of natural gas in the power share risks locking in a carbon intensive pathway and creating stranded assets.4,12 This is illustrated by the recent USD 13.2 billion investment in the Jubilee, TEN and Sankofa gas fields alongside consideration of developing its first coal power plants.4,6 In 2020, crude oil production reached 230,504 barrels per day, while natural gas production increased by 30.5% compared to 2019.5

1 Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana. Ghana’s Fourth National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2019.

2 Xinhua. Ghana committed to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2070: VP. (2022).

3 Xinhua. Ghana committed to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2070 – Bawumia. News Ghana (2022).

4 Ministry of Petroleum, Government of Ghana. Gas Master Plan Developed By Ministry of Petroleum. 2016.

5 National Development Planning Commission. National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework 2022-2025. 2021.

6 Government of Ghana. Ghana’s Second Biennial Update Report. 2018.

7 Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Environment, S. T. and I. Updated Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement (2020 – 2030). 2021.

8 International Energy Agency. Ghana: Data Browser. International Energy Agency. 2022.

9 African Development Bank. Climate Change Profile – Ghana. 2018.

10 Environmental Protection Agency. Ghana’s Fourth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2020.

11 Ministry of Energy, Government of Ghana. Ghana Renewable Energy Master Plan. 2019. Preprint at

12 Environmental Protection Agency. Ghana’s Third Biennial Update Report to United Nations Climate Change. 2021.

13 Republic of Ghana. Drive Electric Initiative. 2019.

14 The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). CTCN in Ghana: Developing a national policy on e-mobility. The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). 2020.

15 Values expressed in Global Warming Potentials from the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

16 See calculations and assumptions here

17 The NDC articulates that emissions from selected extractive and manufacturing industries have not been included. Justification for this can be found on Page 14 of Ghana’s updated NDC.

Ghanaʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
SSP1 High CDR reliance
Low energy demand
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Ghanaʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • 100%RE
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Ghana

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
0 to 40
2030 to 2035
Relative to reference year in %
−99 to −89%
−101 to −100%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Share of unabated gas
0 to 8
2030 to 2035
Share of renewable energy
92 to 99
Share of unabated fossil fuel
1 to 8


Demand shifting towards the power sector

The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time. See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.

Ghanaʼs renewable electricity investments

Billion USD / yr


Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy

Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in Ghana to be on the order of approximately USD 0.9 to 4.8 billion by 2030 and approximately 1 to 11.5 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘high energy demand, low CDR reliance’ pathway shows a particularly high increase in renewable capacity investments, which could be driven by an increase of electrification of end-use sectors, growing energy demand, and expansion of electricity access. Other modelled pathways have relatively lower investments in renewables and rely to varying degrees on other technologies and measures such as energy efficiency and negative emissions technologies, of which the latter can require high up-front investments.