660MW additional power in 18mths

Business News of Monday, 4 February 2013

Source: B&FT

Akosombo Power Plant

About 660 megawatts (MW) of power is expected to come on-stream within the next 18 months to boost current energy generation capacity.

The Takoradi T3 project is expected to generate 130MW while Kpone thermal plant, which is being constructed by the VRA, will bring on-stream 200MW.

The US$622million Bui Dam Project will generate 400 megawatts — with 130MW expected in April. The West African Gas Pipeline Company is also scheduled to resume its gas supply to the Asogli Power Plant by the end of March, after the completion of repair works on a section of its pipeline.

“The Takoradi T3 project is coming; and the Kpone thermal plant, which will generate 200MW, will come on-stream in 2014. That is what the VRA has planned for the next 18 months,” Mr. Kweku Andoh Awotwi, Chief Executive Officer, said.

The absence of gas has forced the VRA to import crude oil to generate thermal energy. The Authority says it spends US$50million to import 400,000 barrels of crude oil every 20 days, in the face of fixed consumer electricity tariffs.

From now to the end of March, when gas supply from Nigeria is expected to resume, VRA will spend US$300million to import crude oil. Ghana’s own gas input into the generation of electricity is not expected until September, when the Gas Company will have laid the pipeline to carry the fuel onshore from the Jubilee Field.

To ensure sustainable supply, the Authority is exploring other options for generating additional energy. Last year, it signed an agreement with the National Energy Company (Taqa) of Abu Dhabi to finance the expansion of the Takoradi 2 power plant.

The expansion project, expected to finish in 2015, will convert the existing gas-fired plant into a combined cycle unit and increase output from 220 MW to approximately 330 MW — without additional fuel.

The Takoradi 2 plant is Ghana’s first independent power project (IPP) and currently represents approximately 15 percent of the country’s installed capacity.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract was awarded to a consortium comprising Mitsui & Co and KEPCO E&C in 2011. The extra energy produced will be sold to VRA under the terms of a revised 25-year power-purchase agreement.

The Authority also plans to issue corporate bonds by the end of the year to raise funds for financing four projects that will generate about 700MW.

With electricity demand and consumption growing rapidly at an annual rate of about 10 percent, generation should be increasing at 200MW every year, according to Mr. Awotwi. In terms of reserve capacity for contingencies, the Ghana Grid Company says 340 megawatts is required — given current demand levels.