Ghana signed an agreement with a US company on Friday to use a barge to generate power in order to end a crippling electricity crisis due to a sharp drop in water levels at Akosombo hydro-electric dam that normally supplied over 40% of power needs in Ghana.
The 125-megawatt barge named “Osagyefo Barge” after Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah would be converted into a combined cycle power plant and made to generate power in 90 days under a power purchase agreement signed in Accra between the government and a US- based Energy Company.
Balkan Energy Company (BEC), which signed the 20-year contract agreement with the Government, is expected to equip, refurbish and commission the barge as well as its associated facilities within the 90-day period at a cost of US$40 million.
The conversion into a combined cycle power plant would make the barge generate an extra 60 megawatts within nine months after the effective date of the agreement at a cost of US$100 million.
Joseph Kofi Adda, minister of Energy and Phillip David Elder, chief executive Officer of Balkan, signed the agreement which gives Balkan the right to start running the barge with diesel and later with gas from the West African Gas Pipe Line.
He said the agreement would be reviewed every five years and Balkan would make a yearly lease payment of 10 million dollars to government from the beginning of the sixth year to the 20th.
“This underscores government’s commitment to see the power problem solved and allow normal operations of business in the country, Adda said.
Subject to concluded tooling fee and supply agreements with government and gas suppliers, Balkan would within three years invest in infrastructure to ensure that the gas was supplied through the West African Gas Pipeline, Tano Basin or other sources.
In addition it would invest and bring two more combined cycle barge- mounted systems of 185MW each within three years of executing the agreement and increase the generation capacity at Effasu where the Barge is stationed to approximately 555MW.
Elder expressed his company’s delight to bring private investment into Ghana not only for the short-term but also the long-term power need to the country.
“With the support of government we will work to expand the facility and make it more efficient,” he said.