Integrating sustainable energies into local government plans in Ghana
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Despite significant efforts to mainstream sustainable energies into national policies, the extent to which such energies are integrated into local government plans in Ghana remains unclear. This study explored the status and factors affecting the integration of sustainable energies in local level planning using the Wa Municipality in the Upper West Region as a case study. Key informant interviews were held with four heads of departments alongside a content analysis of eight policy and planning documents using ATLAS.ti software. The scope of the study covered the 2010–2013 and 2014–2017 development plans prepared by the Municipality and was conducted between May and July 2019. We found that energy-related projects constituted only 1.4% and 1.1% of all the projects found in the 2010–2013 and 2014–2017 MTPs of the Municipality, respectively. The focus on energy in the plans was on increasing electricity access through grid extension, with little attention to off-grid applications and alternative energy sources. We conclude that low priority is given to sustainable energy issues in the local government plans, and this situation is partly attributed to the fact that planning guidelines and national policy frameworks did not explicitly outline strategies for integrating sustainable energies into local government plans. Hence, provisions in national policy frameworks and national guidelines for local development planning significantly affects the integration of sustainable energies at the local government level. We recommend that the National Development Planning Commission should incorporate explicit provisions for integrating sustainable energies into the district/local planning guidelines.