In the first week of March 2023, the project team met in Ghana for the closing workshop and visited the field sites. At the end of this month, the EnerSHelF project will end after four years of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on improving and disseminating marketable PV-based energy solutions for health facilities in Ghana. The closing event was successful in disseminating the research results to relevant stakeholders.
The workshop started with presentations by the principal investigators of EnerSHelF – giving a short introduction to the project and welcoming the participants from academia, media, governmental agencies, industry, sectoral associations, health facilities, and international donors. It was followed by two parallel sessions and a moderated panel discussion with representatives of the project, the Ministry of Health, and the Ghana Health Service.
During the parallel sessions, the different work packages presented their research findings. One session aimed at technical considerations while the other targeted strategic considerations. A comprehensive report on the closing event will be published later on this website. You can also have a look at our policy briefs to learn more about project results.
Within work package 4, Jonas Bauhof from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg is analysing the interdisciplinary cooperation and exchange of the different work packages involved in the project.
What is your role in the EnerSHelF project?
As a distinct feature of the EnerSHelF project, besides the disciplinary work of the technical, natural, and social sciences, we are also aiming to understand processes of cooperation between the different disciplines in such an interdisciplinary research setting. My role is to identify the areas of cooperation and possible barriers and enablers of interdisciplinary research. These “lessons-learned” can be beneficial for future projects with a similar set-up.
The last time we spoke, you were at the planning stage of your data collection in Ghana. Can you state again, what it is you are trying to find out with your research?
As explained in our last interview, work package 1.1 deals with the political economy of sustainable energy transition in the Ghana Health and Energy sectors. Specifically, we seek to the analyse the factors that influence institutional or policy change towards clean energy transitions in Ghana with specific emphasis on solar PVs.
How is your data collection proceeding?
So far, the first round of data collection has been concluded. After experiencing some difficulties during the initial stages due in part to the global Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to successfully conduct 19 qualitative interviews with key stakeholders at the national level in Ghana. The categories or groups of stakeholders interviewed included the following: Health and energy policy makers, sector regulators, donor institutions and international agents, NGOs and civil society groups within the health and energy space, and finally independent experts. A follow up or mopping up round for a few stakeholders interviewed is planned for June 2022.
In this interview, Paul David Bohn from Cologne University of Applied Sciences talks about his role in the EnerSHelF project. He continues the work of Silvan Rummeny on an advisor and planning tool for Photovoltaic-diesel-hybrid systems.
In autumn 2021, you took over the role of Silvan Rummeny, who was working in work package 3.3. Can you tell us what his – and now your – work entails?
The main subject of work package 3.3. is the development of an advisor and planning tool for micro grids. The acronym for this tool is Micro Grid User Energy Planning TooL (MiGUEL). MiGUEL is used to design, simulate and evaluate Photovoltaic (PV)-diesel-hybrid systems for Ghanaian health facilities. The goal is to provide users with suitable solutions on how to design a cost-effective micro grid, contributing to fulfil the sustainable development goals and affiliated roadmaps. The target groups are project developers, engineering companies, and private as well as public grid operators who want to implement micro or mini grids. Silvan Rummeny started designing MiGUEL and I took over the development since he left EnerSHelF.
Interview with Dr. Windmanadga Sawadogo from University of Augsburg. He talks about his recent trip to the EnerSHelF field sites and about processing the collected meteorological data.
You are working in WP 3.2, focusing on high-resolution meteorological forecasts for Ghana. Can you explain how your work contributes to the overall aim of the EnerSHelF project to improve and disseminate marketable PV-based energy solutions for health facilities in Ghana?
The work of the University Augsburg is to produce weather forecasts for the three pilot sites and to spread the data to different partners in the project. For this, I am working closely with Samer Chaaraoui from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS), as he needs the forecasting data to improve the accuracy of his models for photovoltaic-hybrid systems. Currently, we are at the stage where everything is ready, and we are running the forecasts for the three sites every day. The collected data are kept at our servers at the KIT campus at Garmisch-Partenkirchen while we are waiting for the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) from our partner WASCAL (West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) to upload the data so that everyone can easily access the data.
Mohammed Abass from our project partner WestfalenWIND travelled to Ghana to adjust and improve the PV-hybrid power system at the health facility in Kologo.
When putting research into practice, the reality often calls for adjustment of foregone planning. Just like other initiatives, the EnerSHelF project is undergoing constant evaluation, adjustments, and improvements. In our previous article, we described the process of training local enumerators to conduct quantitative interviews at health facilities across Ghana. Here, the training week was followed by a pilot study before the main survey at 200 health facilities started in July. The test run helped to identify any necessary changes in the questionnaire and survey design.
On the engineering side of the project, the solar-hybrid systems at the health facilities of our three pilot sites need constant checks to evaluate if they are running as planned. Many adjustments can be done remotely via sensors and software, which has been set-up by our technicians and researchers. However, certain work must be done at the site.
Update: In July, a group of ten local enumerators started interviewing 200 health facilities all over Ghana. Prior to the start of the survey, they have been trained by Ana Maria Pérez from Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and Kennedy Alatinga from SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies in Wa. After an intensive training week and a test run of the survey in June, the data collection is well on track. Until now, around 80% of the health facilities have been interviewed. The survey is set to be completed during the month of August.
In November 2020, our partner WestfalenWIND travelled to Ghana to install a PV-hybrid power system at Kologo, Ghana. In March 2021, Mohammed Abass returned to the health facility to finish the set-up. In this article, he illustrates the necessity, application, and management of the system.
In Twi, one of the local languages in Ghana, dumsors are power cuts due to low voltage or high-energy demand. They happen frequently and can last for days or weeks. Dumsors impede the work progress of many companies and workplaces, especially health facilities, where electric power is needed the most. Sometimes, communities even must take turns to not overstrain the electricity grid. This is a huge problem for health centres, as they need cooling systems for their vaccines and other drugs that need to be stored at certain temperatures.