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Ghana: The Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom

The Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom, ruled by His Majesty the Okyenhene, is comprised of 6 out of the 14 districts of the Eastern Region in Ghana. It occupies a total land area of about 5,204 square kilometers or about 1.285 million acres of land and has an estimated population of 950,000 people living in approximately 750 villages. The land in the Kingdom has clear title dating back to the early 1920s.

Vast Land Resources

The land resources of the Kingdom have suffered from deforestation and illegal mining operations which have contaminated large areas of land with mercury. However, through our land cultivation and ecosystem restoration work, the Kingdom’s forests, watershed and agricultural lands will be revitalized bringing back a healthy biodiversity to the region while at the same time increasing carbon sinks, soil productivity and more consistent rainfall. Productive soils will enable forestry, cash crops and livestock management over time creating hundreds of permanent jobs and helping to establish enduring food security and ecological security for the region. Thanks to a United States Trade and Industry (USTDA) and Power Africa grant, we are in the process of conducting a series of feasibility studies for our first project – a proposed 20 MW biomass power plant and energy farms.

image: VILLAGE CORPS BIOPOWER BOARD CHAIR KOFI APPENTENG WITH A VILLAGE CHIEF.

 

Innovative Power Generation

We have first chosen to develop a renewable biomass power facility in the Kindgom. We have conducted a wide variety of assessments to determine that we can build a up to a ‘carbon beneficial’ 20MW power station that combusts a combination of sustainable sources of existing biomass waste with energy crops of giant bamboo and Bana grass to make renewable electricity. Since the existing biomass waste is sustainable, the bamboo grows back to full size within 9-12 months and only about 30% of a bamboo plant is harvested, and Bana grows back in 4-5 months, we develop a project that is ‘carbon beneficial’ – meaning, we remove more carbon each year than we emit. We will either sell the power to the Electric Company of Ghana and/or to a large multinational company operating in the region through a long-term purchase agreement.

 

Exponential Impact

By planting new giant bamboo energy crop farms to use as feedstock for making renewable electricity, we will help with reforestation of a deforested area. We only harvest one-third of the bamboo in a single plant, leaving two-thirds towards reforestation to help establish a much healthier bio-habitat. When harvested, we keep the bamboo leaves, tops and branches as animal fodder since bamboo has a good balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. This fodder helps establish livestock programs and to create new permanent jobs while at the same time helping to limit grazing in order to heal degraded lands. We will use Bana grass in a similar way to fix nitrogen in the soil and for animal fodder as well as for feedstock to make electricity.

Additionally, once bamboo and Bana grass is burned through the power making process, we return the ash from the combustion process to the land as it is high in potassium and phosphate. The land in the area we are working is currently very acidic, so this helps improve the soil quality to make the soil more productive for cash crops. And with planting other Nitrogen fixing plants, like Bana grass, we create an organic fertilizer (NPK) for the soil. With healthier soil, cash crop farming can be established which creates an additional carbon sink though the plants and soil, year after year. Farming also could create hundreds more permanent jobs.

Our renewable electricity project will create hundreds of permanent jobs planting and then harvesting the energy crops year-round as well as enhancing the incomes of current farmers from whom we buy existing biomass waste.

Our holistic community development program also generates an annual community income via a renewable energy project revenue share for the 30+ year life of the power station. These funds are used to address myriad community needs by paying directly for solutions such as clean water, sanitation, schools, health clinics, malaria reduction programs, elderly care, orphan care, transportation and other various needs. The implemented solutions can then be maintained year after year because of the permanent employment and the annual revenue share for the 30+ year life of the power plant, which acts like a ‘tax revenue’, paying in part to maintain the highly valued community based solutions which have been implemented in a holistic manner to create what we call ‘perennial prosperity™’.

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