VRA secures funds to develop solar plant
The Volta River Authority (VRA) has secured funding worth $22 million from KfW, a German government funding agency, for the development of a 12-megawatt solar power plant at Jirapa in the Upper West Region.
The funding comes on the heels of the inauguration of VRA’s first solar project of 2.5 megawatts at Navrongo in the Upper East Region in May, 2012.
According to the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VRA, Mr Kirk Coffie, the investment in the solar and wind farms were in line with the VRA’s vision of building 150 megawatts of such farms for the next five years, under its renewable energy project.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Coffie indicated that the VRA had focused on a number of expansion projects designed to ensure the availability and accessibility of electricity, in line with its short-to-medium term goal of adding 500 megawatts to the country’s power generation mix.
‘Currently, VRA is installing wind masts in designated solar zones to enable wind measurements to be taken to enable a detailed feasibility study for a proposed 150- megawatts wind farm earmarked under the renewable energy development project’, Mr Coffie said.
Need for more power projects
Mr Coffie further stated that there was the need to continuously add to generation projects, hence the VRA had concluded financing arrangements for work to begin on the conversion of the 220 megawatts Takoradi International Company (TICO) thermal plant into a 330 megawatts combined cycle plant.
‘Other projects such as the commencement of feasibility studies aimed at expanding the 110 megawatts CENIT plant into a 330 megawatts combined cycle and the development of a new Takoradi Thermal Four (T4) plant are new strategies within the VRA’s 10-year capacity expansion strategy’, Mr Coffie enumerated.
‘VRA will, however, need over $2 billion to implement the power projects required for the next five years’, he said.
Discontent with Tariff Adjustment
Mr Coffie said that while the VRA was disappointed with the 35.98 per cent tariff adjustment awarded the authority, as against its proposed 128 per cent, officials, on the other hand, sympathised with consumers over the dramatic increases.
‘However, the reality of the situation on the ground is that the current electricity rate applicable to the VRA only covers part of our operational cost’, he stated.
Additionally, Mr Coffie said that while the VRA’s year-to-date average cost production, including maintenance and overhead costs weighed above 1.92 pesewas per kilowatt hour, ‘It is regretful that even with the current bulk generation tariff (BGT) of 36 per cent, the VRA’s total revenue stood at $900 million, while its fuel bill also stood at $1.3 million, thus creating a deficit of $400 million’, Mr Coffie intimated.
By Della Russel Ocloo/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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