Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director, ACEP
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has kicked against attempts by government to hand over the Takoradi Thermal Plant Three (T3) to AMERI.
In a recent statement issued in Accra, ACEP said, “The decision to cede the T3 Plant to AMERI is ill-conceived and creates the impression that the decision is targeted at crowding VRA out of the western enclave for eventual takeover by private business concerns, with vested interest to use Ghana Gas as the main source of generation.
ACEP said that “after all the efforts VRA and its engineers have made over the past five years to tackle the country’s erratic power shortage, the least government could do is take a decision that weakens the Authority.”
“We are aware that government is contracting AMERI on a Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement for five years. We are however convinced that the arrangement is far from being a BOOT for the following reasons: AMERI will not be building any plant as the infrastructure is already installed, including a steam component and an interconnection infrastructure. AMERI is only required to supply and change the four gas turbines.
“The Government of Ghana is required to make available the VRA personnel working at T3 to be utilized by AMERI for the operation of the plant and the cost and expenses of the personnel are to be borne by VRA. Thus, the arrangement provides for staff of VRA to be used to operate the plant and be paid by VRA not AMERI. Therefore, with all these obligations to be executed by government and VRA, the deal cannot be described as a BOOT,” it mentioned.
It described the deal as Equipment Supply and Installations contract which could be executed by VRA if given the same support.
“VRA, in our view, is already strategically placed to rehabilitate and operate the plant given that the plant is located within its premises; it has experienced staff and has already made investments in the plant. The failure by government to take the right political decisions is what has brought the plant to its current state. We are reliably informed that VRA was not consulted in the choice of the plant, which was manufactured in Ukraine and was installed in Ghana without a commercial history. The plant was also configured to run in low temperature zones.
“We are also aware that VRA was forced by government to invest $75.8 million in the fuel conversion from a loan, which the Authority is still servicing. Again, we know that VRA further requested the government to provide it with a government guarantee to source funds to revive the plant, but government turned it down.”
Ghanaians, through VRA, already pay $9.9m as capacity charges for AMERI every month which relies on VRA infrastructure such as the land, security, housing and gas delivery infrastructure at no cost to AMERI.
It said if the T3 Plant is given to AMERI, Ghanaians would pay more capacity charges.
“We propose that government should either provide VRA with a Government Guarantee or support it with the Infrastructure sub-component of the Energy Sector Levies to revive and operate the plant.”
By Samuel Boadi