General News of Sunday, 22 February 2015
Source: The Chronicle
The Executive Director for the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam has predicted that the energy crisis would continue for the next three years.
The government is currently relying on three interventions to address the energy crisis – the completion of the Kpone Thermal Plant, expansion of Tico Thermal Project in Takoradi and the purchase of two barges from Turkey. These interventions, if realized, would add over 700 megawatts of power, which should be enough to cancel the current 600 megawatts deficit.
Dr. Amin however told journalists at Zuarungu near Bolgatanga recently that the ambition of the government would be difficult to achieve because she was finding it difficult in raising U$ 100 million to secure the barges. He also stated that, the Kpone Thermal Plant should have been completed in 2011, but it delayed. Other thermal plants have suffered similar fates, in terms of the completion date.
“And this is why Ghanaians don’t believe when government says that we are going to do this and that to solve the crisis because it (government) has not been able to live up to that expectation,” he said.
Dr. Amin called on the government to do what he called “a critical technical audit” of the projects currently ongoing and tell Ghanaians when exactly those projects would be completed and brought on stream. Analyzing growth in demand for power, he said every year, demand increased at the rate of 12% which translated into about 250 megawatts.
This, he continued, meant that every year, the country needed to add 250 megawatts whilst 400 megawatts are also needed for reserved margin. The Reserved margin, according to him, was required for the purposes of maintenance of generating plants.
He questioned why government had installed capacity of 2800 with a peak demand of 2000 and yet the country had found itself in crisis. “One of the problems is fuel supply security. Gas, okay. We have delayed the Atoabo Project for three years and Nigeria disappointed us.
“Now the project is completed and we can’t use the gas. Why because we did not plan ahead to have interconnection between the Atuabo pipeline and the West African Gas Pipe Line. And so you have so much gas – 60 million standard cubic feet a day stranded in Takoradi, yet there is no gas to fire Asogli, there is no gas to fire the Tema plants. So if we were able to carry the gas to Tema, we will not have load shedding because Tema plants are substantive,” he observed.
When asked if in his view the crisis could be fixed anytime soon, the Executive Director said, “I am doubtful. I am doubtful because where the barges will be put; they are not preparing the ground for the barges”. He said even though government said the barges would come in the next two months, he was doubtful. To him, it would come sometime in October to December 2015.
“And I am challenging government to tell me that I am not speaking the truth. And we all in Ghana will watch when the barges will come into Ghana”. According to him, apart from the fact that government was finding it difficult to find the money to pay, recently they have asked the Ghana National Petroleum Cooperation (GNPC) to produce the U$ 100 million to pay.
Amina Anta was also not happy with the order that had been given to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to raise funds for the purchase of the barges because it falls outside the remit of the state oil corporation. He added that even if the U$ 100 million was paid, the place where the barges would be installed was not ready.
“Even the fuel to fire the barges, Ghana is not ready. When the barges come, we are supposed to be fueling the barges but we are not ready. And so when you have such challenges, what you do is to tell the people the truth. Don’t give them over expectations.
And that is why we have called on the government to declare three-year crisis and take its time to address these issues. It’s better to tell the people so that their expectations are not bloated. Then they have patience with you, and understanding with you,” he emphasized.