More electricity next year; 2 new power barges being built

Two emergency power barges are being constructed by the government to generate 450 megawatts (MW) of power to stabilise energy supply in the country, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has said.

The two power barges, each of which has 225 MW, are expected in the country by the end of the second quarter of 2015. 

Already, the first barge, constructed by Messrs Karadeniz Power Group/Karpower of Turkey, a renowned global power ship manufacturing company,  has been completed and is expected in the country by the first quarter of 2015.

The second barge is expected by the second quarter of next year.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Armah-Kofi Buah said ‘the government is working around the clock to ensure the power needs of individuals are met. We are focused on increasing power generation in the country and we are not wavering on that’.

The power barges, which are self-propelled, will be strategically located in Tema and Takoradi for immediate deployment, to provide  electricity to the country.

 He said ‘this medium-term power ship will deliver to Ghana a quickly deployed and installed, operational grid-sized flexible power plant’. 

  Power challenges
Individuals and businesses are currently faced with challenges associated with intermittent power supply.

The drop in water level at the Akosombo Dam, irregular gas supply to thermal plants from the West African Gas Pipeline Company, irregular maintenance schedules and late procurement of crude oil to power thermal plants are some of the causes of irregular power supply in Ghana.

Ghana’s demand for electricity is between 1,800 and 2,000 megawatts of power, but it is targeting 5,000 megawatts of power by 2016.

‘Ghana wants to have enough to export to other West African countries by the end of 2016,’ Mr Buah said.

The minister explained that ‘it would have taken an average of three to four years to put up a power plant but we felt there was the urgent need to request for a power barge to stabilize power supply in the country’.

The power ship to be delivered early next year has a dual-fuel (heavy fuel oil or natural gas) engine technology to ensure complete fuel flexibility.

‘Its design encompasses combined cycle operation ensuring that the highest efficiencies are achieved delivering maximum megawatts output,’ Mr Buah said.

  Plans so far
Mr Buah explained that after several technical and commercial due diligence meetings and negotiations in Turkey and in Ghana early this year, works had commenced on the project and currently in advanced stages following the construction of the first 225MW power ship. 

Other critical activities such as marine and civil works for the location of the ship, construction of power transmission corridors, incoming substation and others are ongoing. 

Mr Buah said the ministry, together with the project team that comprises sector agencies such as the Electricity Company of Ghana (which negotiated PPA and off-taking the power), Ghana Grid Company (which is providing power transmission and evacuation corridors), the Energy Commission (licence provider), the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (which deals with electricity tariffs), the Environmental Protection Agency (which is responsible for issuing environmental permit) and the Ghana Maritime Authority were diligently working to fast-track the project. 

‘The tentative commercial operation date for the first power ship is the first quarter of 2015 and the second power ship is 2015,’ Mr Buah noted.

He said the acquisition of all permits and approvals from the relevant authorities were nearly completed.

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