Ghanaian industrial and domestic power consumers, who have been going through a serious energy crisis, will still have to wait a few more months before the current load shedding ends despite the addition of 265 megawatts of power to generation in the past few weeks.
President John Dramani Mahama last week inaugurated one of the units of the Bui Hydro Project that will generate 133 megawatts of power in addition to 132 megawatts from a thermal power plant at Takoradi inaugurated earlier.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum says these additions take care of the 200 megawatts taken off as a result of a power generating company not running because of lack of natural gas from the West African Gas Pipeline Project. It states that the load shedding would end by the first week of May.
However, the Volta River Authority (VRA), the state-owned power generating company, says the load shedding is not completely over.
Head of Corporate Communications at the VRA, Kweku Fletcher, says it will be “unrealistic” to say load shedding will be completely over adding that judging from the rate of growth, the country cannot immediately produce enough to meet its needs.
The addition of 265 megawatts of power is significant but this only means there will be no reserve, VRA says.
The situation will improve further when the West African Gas Pipeline Project, under which natural gas from Nigeria is supplied to Benin, Togo and Ghana, finally starts pumping natural gas to the Sonun Asogli plant to generate 200 megawatts.
The gas pipeline project missed yet another deadline to resume supplies on 30 April after completion of repairs to its damaged pipe in Togo saying its “schedule had slipped because of two main challenges – contracting and line cleaner defect”.
The US$800 million Bui Hydroelectric Power Project will add 400 megawatts of power when all its units are completed by the end of the year to boost generation.
President Mahama says the nation’s power demand increases by about 10 per cent annually due to economic growth and therefore means there is the need to generate an additional 200 megawatts every year.
The government has since 2009 increased the country’s installed electricity capacity from 1,810 to 2,576 megawatts and the president has affirmed the resolve to double the power installed capacity to 5,000 megawatts by 2016 to ensure sustainable energy to make the country a net exporter of electricity.
Ghana is working very hard to complete a project that will tap natural gas from its oilfields in the west of the country for the production of electricity by the end of the year.
The Ghana Gas Plant Project being constructed at Atuabo will supply processed gas from Atuabo to the Takoradi Thermal Processing Plant (TTPP). It will also to facilitate the transport of gas from the same site for onward evacuation to the Sunon Asogli plant by sea vessels.