Business News of Thursday, 5 March 2015
The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), has called on government to formulate laws, similar to the Renewable Energy Act, to govern the country’s electricity sector.
Dr. Mohammed Amin Adams, Executive Director of ACEP, said: “We will urge that government, must as a matter of urgency,introduce Electricity Law similar to the Renewable Energy Act to provide options for electricity generation including the legalisation of different types of fuel for use in generation. The law should also address issues of electricity transmission and distribution.”
“We believe that the energy crises have been historical, and ‘shortermism’ has never provided a permanent solution to the crises. It is therefore refreshing that a long-term approach is being adopted to addressing the energy sector challenges. However, we see the promise by our president to be a big dream. 3,800MW in 5 years is indeed a big dream,” he said.
Dr. Amin, was speaking at a press conference organised by ACEP in reaction to measures outlined by President John Mahama in the State of the Nation Address to address the power crisis currently facing the country.
Current generational shortfall is estimated between 450-500 megawatts, attributable to poor inflow into the Akosombo reservoir, challenges with gas supply from Nigeria through the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) and difficulties with some installed thermal plants.
This has forced government to seek solutions abroad by opening negotiations with Turkish company, Karpower, to supply two power barges each capable of generating 450megawatts. The arrangement, when concluded, is expected to last for 10years with a tariff of 19cents per kilowatts hour being offered the Turkish power producer.
There is also on-going negotiations with Dubai-based Power Company to procure 10units that could produce 25megawatts each.
The President in his State of the Nation Address promised to end the perennial power crisis by the end of the year. He said three emergency power barges to be procured from Karpower ship in Turkey and APR from United Arab Emirates as well as one from General Electric will help to add 1,000MW to address the energy shortfall in the next few months.
But energy experts have argued that the emergency power barges will likely be ready within the last two months of this year.
Currently, Ghana for over fifty years of electricity generation, does not have the requisite laws governing electricity generation and distribution.
“We recommend that government should evaluate the various projects to determine their financial requirement especially the VRA generation projects and develop a strategy to support the timely closure of financial and delivery of the projects.
Government should also assess the fuel requirement of these projects and publish a fuel security strategy. These are, undoubtedly, the most challenging programme of the President and for which generations will hold him accountable, we will propose that the President sets up a high level panel to coordinate and implement these projects under the leadership of the Ministry of Power,” he said. Notwithstanding, he said government’s announcement of a coal plant without first putting in place the necessary basics looks flawed.
“Government has announced a 750MW coal plant project to be undertaken by Asogli. Government must realise that coal is an industry and you do not approve its deployment ahead of the development of industry regulations, industry standards, pricing, technology, waste disposal plan and environmental mitigation. We also need port infrastructure. The approval and announcement of a coal plant as one of the promised generation projects by the President therefore amounts to a skewed logic,” he added.
Other recommendations offered included disclosure of all terms associated with the power barges and justification of value for money, fast-track negotiations for the interconnection project between the Atuabo Gas Pipeline and the West Africa Gas Pipeline to reverse stranded gas from Takoradi to Tema for use by the power plants.