CLASP worked with the Ghana Energy Foundation from 2000-2002 to assist the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) and Ministry of Mines and Energy to identify products and develop standards and labels.
Ghana’s S&L initiative of the early 2000s offers a small-scale but complete example of the way in which a government can use S&L policies to address often-related energy and economic challenges.
Historical Context—Ghana’s Energy Crisis
In the 1980s and 1990s, Ghana experienced strong economic growth that brought with it a large increase in demand for energy. Because historically Ghana had not invested heavily in its energy infrastructure, Ghana did not have the capacity to keep up with the growth in energy demand. Rolling blackouts from 1998-2000 decreased output from the industrial and service sectors and, as a result, the economy suffered. Finding a solution to this energy crisis became a national imperative.
Cultural and political circumstances coalesced in the late 1990s and early 2000s and led to the development of the Ghana Energy Foundation. The Ghana Energy Foundation – a consumer-based partnership between the public and private sectors – promoted energy efficiency and renewable energy. The creation of this politically-neutral partnership reduced bureaucracy and strengthened the general public’s trust in the government’s energy efficiency initiatives. Additionally, the inclusion of the private sector in the partnership provided the Ghana Energy Foundation access to greater resources for energy efficiency activities than the public sector alone could have provided.
Ghana Develops S&L
In 2000, CLASP partnered with Ghana’s Electrical Appliance Labelling and Standards Programme (GEALSP) to develop the first standards and labels for sub-Saharan Africa.
CLASP worked with GEALSP to create energy efficiency performance standards and labels customized to Ghana's energy needs, culture, and economic reality.
CLASP and GEALSP developed an S&L plan that factored in the potential effect of efficiency standards on low-income groups; the need to make it feasible and affordable for Ghanaians to purchase energy efficiency; and the need to make it attractive for businesses to supply the technology and services before any regulation was drafted.
Given the energy needs, culture, and economic reality of Ghana, CLASP and GEALSP agreed that the room air conditioner (RAC) standard would be implemented first and then followed by standards for lighting systems, refrigerators, and deep freezers. RACs were chosen to be the first minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) product because of their role in peak electricity demand and because the Ghanaian market for RACs consisted largely of new equipment.
Ghana's Energy Labels
GEALSP, with CLASP’s support, conducted market research to improve the design for national energy labels. CLASP conducted consumer research in Ghana and supported corresponding label revision for improved consumer awareness and understanding. Uncertainties expressed by consumers – such as whether more stars signified greater energy efficiency or consumption – were unanticipated in the original label design. Ghana’s label design was revised to make the image more effective in relaying product energy efficiency information to consumers.
More effective labels in Ghana led to greater consumer understanding of product energy use, higher sales of efficient products, and more effective transformation of the market toward energy efficient products.
Ghana’s S&L plan – leading with a room air conditioner MEPS – provided significant energy savings while enabling maximum stakeholder support. The plan allowed the GEALSP to establish a precedent, improve its technical capacity, and increase the chances of successful implementation of future standards.
Ghana’s room air conditioner standard (Ghana Standard, GS362: 2001, Label and Test Procedure for Room Air Conditioners) was expected to save Ghanaian consumers and businesses an average of $64 million annually in energy bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 2.8 million tons over 30 years. Policymakers estimated that this standard, by 2013, would save the equivalent energy of a 150 MW generating plant and help to alleviate the peak load energy problem associated with rolling blackouts.
As the graph below demonstrates, the net benefits of the room air conditioner standard were expected to be almost as large as the gross benefits because the associated costs of increased RAC efficiency in Ghana were very small.
Development of Ghana’s RAC standard also included S&L capacity-building and training. For instance, several members of Parliament responsible for S&L oversight, one consultant to the GSB, one engineer from the GSB, and several independent advocates and government contractors received training on S&L policies and tools.
In 2005, Ghana published a mandatory minimum energy performance standard for room air conditioners and compact fluorescent lights, successfully implementing the first mandatory appliance standard regulations in sub-Saharan Africa. To complement the MEPS, legislation also included a labeling program initially applied to air conditioners and lighting.