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Towards Modernization or Doom: History of Colonial Energy Developments and its Impact on Ghana’s Power Sector, 1915-2013
Прикладная и междисциплинарная история
Ghana is a West African Country with population of about twenty-seven million and approximately more than half of the population continue to rely electricity supply from Akosombo dam. In this context, electricity supply is not able to meet growing demand of the population. Ghana’s power sector follows the path of colonial hydro-electrification projects. Colonial hydro-power path is the modernization path. “Hydro- Dam Scheme” was initiated in Colonial regime (1920-1956) to develop Ghana’s river resources in order to enhance reliable power supply to Aluminium industries through the construction of dams. However, British Colonial administration implemented no policy plan in the “Hydro-Dam Scheme” and this has constrained development of alternative energy resources such as solar energy, wind energy and Biomass. The approach to the research is the “Hydro-dam Modernisation framework” using a hybrid model of qualitative and quantitative data. The “Hydro-dam Modernisation framework” explains how hydro-power dams are constructed in the quest to industrialize and develop colonies. Based on available data analysed, it is hypothesized that Colonial planning of the Akosombo dam in 1948 as a “modern experiment” adopted by post-colonial governments, is not working for Ghana’s energy sector and for this reason Ghana’s energy sector is in crisis. The research challenges popular western modernisation narratives because Colonial energy development was linked to resource exploitation to create a future Ghana was not ready for. When hydro-power development shifts from economic rhetoric of modernisation to political rhetoric of modernisation, with people in centre of discourse, local people become no longer interested in this rhetoric because “modernisation experiment” did not bear the results expected. The study focuses on Colonial hydro-electricity projects and how the construction of the Akosombo dam as a large technological system influences the direction of energy policy in Ghana.