Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.
Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building, for example. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters.
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After building the oil and gas distribution company UBI Group in her native Ghana and then selling a majority stake to an international investor, Salma Okonkwo turned her attention to solar power. As the pace of industrialization in Africa accelerates, she wants to make sure that political and corporate leaders don’t repeat the mistakes that their Western and Chinese peers made as they pursued development and economic growth. That’s why, in 2018, she created Blue Power Energy. It’s still early days for the company, which has 20 employees and hasn’t yet started generating revenues. But it’s currently building two solar farms in Ghana with the goal of eight more by 2028 and has signed contracts to supply 3 million customers with 140 megawatts of clean energy by the end of 2023. Okonkwo’s hope is that she can apply the lessons she learned launching and building UBI to her new venture so that it not only becomes just as successful but also makes a more positive impact on the world.
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For more than a decade, one 48-year-old entrepreneur in Ghana has been quietly building up a multimillion-dollar oil and gas outfit called UBI Group. Salma Okonkwo is a rare woman to head up an energy company in Africa. “I don’t stop when the door is being shut. I find a way to make it work,” Okonkwo told Forbes. “That’s what propelled my success.” She’s now expanding her reach across Ghana’s energy industry, working on an independent side project that may become the biggest in her career. Okonkwo is building Ghana’s biggest solar farm, called Blue Power Energy, slated to open in March 2019 with 100 megawatts of energy. It’s set to be one of the largest in Africa.
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If you are a female seeking inspiration from a fellow woman who has blazed the trail in excellence, then Salma Okonkwo should be the inspiration that you seek. Mrs Salma Okonkwo, the Board Chairman of UBI Group, has emerged as Female Energy Personality of the Year at the Ghana Energy Awards 2019. She received the award for her outstanding performance in Ghana’s energy sector. Winning such a prestigious award did not come as a surprise to many in the energy sector due to Mrs. Okonkwo’s works in the energy industry. Mrs Salma Okonkwo is well known for establishing UBI Group and ensuring that the organization truly earns the accolade as the first fully integrated oil and gas downstream firm.
UBI Group is a Ghanaian group that has companies managing retail stations, petroleum tank farms, oil tanker vessels and tanker trucks. The group has built enough capacity to attract Puma Energy to make a substantial investment which allowed two of the companies – the retails stations and the tank farms – to achieve her vision. Today the retail arm of the company which was UBI Petroleum is branded Puma Energy leveraging on the technical and financial muscle of the Puma Energy Global Brand. The 48-year-old entrepreneur thus becomes one of the very few women heading an oil and gas company of such magnitude in Ghana and the West African Sub-region. She is now expanding her reach across Ghana’s energy industry by building what may possibly be one of Africa’s largest solar power farms, Blue Power Energy. Blue Power Energy is an energy service company specialised in renewable energy. It is geared towards Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth through providing electricity by developing a large-scale solar photovoltaic farm to power more than 60% of Ghana’s land area.
As the energy grid expands and diversifies across West Africa and the whole of the continent, new suppliers are entering the country at a rapid pace. Within Ghana, one local company is earning the trust of an increasing group of commercial and residential clients for its unparalleled energy delivery. UBI Group is an energy service company with four distinct branches in marketing, trading, logistics and storage.