Contingency measures have been instituted by the Ministry of Energy for an additional 300 megawatts (MW) of power to ease the burden associated with the frequent power outages in the country.
A crunch meeting was held at the Ministry of Energy last Thursday to re-evaluate the cutback of power generation at the Bui and the Akosombo power generation stations to find an immediate solution to the current power crisis bedevilling consumers.
“At the end of the meeting, it was decided that the Bui Power Authority (BPA) will begin adding daytime production of 100MW and 200MW at peak time in the short term, while the Akosombo Dam will open one unit, in addition to the four units that are currently generating power,” the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra at the weekend.
He said the Akosombo Dam last Friday began running on five units, instead of the four it had been operating in the past.
“These are temporary measures we are putting in place as we work to generate more power to relieve individuals and businesses of the power crisis,” he said.
Bui Power Authority
Mr Buah said the Bui Dam was generating 200MW due to the low water level in the dam but explained that under the circumstance, the BPA had been given the green light to generate additional 100MW.
“This is a decision to bring immediate relief to the very intense load shedding being faced now,” he said.
“It is expected that the Aboadze thermal plants that are currently down for maintenance works will be brought back into operation soon, so that the dams can be managed.
“There is no amount of words that can explain the difficulty that the people of Ghana are going through with this load shedding and its impact on industries and homes. We are doing everything possible to bring the situation under control,” Mr Buah said.
Ghana is currently grappling with a power generation deficit of between 550MW and 600MW, representing a third of the entire 2,000MW of power generated for distribution.
The situation is troubling domestic and industrial consumers who have had to either cope with many hours of blackout or spend substantial amounts of money outside their budgets in fuelling their power generators.
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) intends to introduce a new schedule of load shedding that will shut down power supply to specific areas for 24 hours, while other areas will enjoy power for 24 hours.
Current challenges in the power sector can be attributed to the drop in the water levels at the Akosombo and the Bui power generation plants, unreliable gas supply to thermal plants from the West African Gas Pipeline Company, the high cost of crude oil to power plants and regular maintenance schedules of power plants.
Energy situation in Ghana
In the past 15 years, about 1,000MW of thermal generation capacity has been added, resulting in Ghana’s current generation capacity of 2,125MW.
The Akosombo Hydroelectric Power Plant supplies about 1,020MW of energy, followed by the Bui Dam, which produces 400MW, with the Aboadze Thermal Plant producing 360MW and the Takoradi Thermal Plant 330MW.
Kpong produces 160MW, while the country’s first solar plant at Punga in the Upper East Region produces 2MW, giving the country 2,272MW of combined electricity supply.
In spite of this, Ghana has continuously operated below capacity.
Meanwhile, two emergency power barges are currently under construction to generate 450MW of power to beef up power supply in the country.
The two barges, each of which has 225MW capacity, are expected in the country by the end of the second quarter of 2015.
Already, the first barge, constructed by Messrs Karadeniz Power Group/Karpower of Turkey, a renowned global power ship manufacturing company, has been completed and is expected in the country by the first quarter of 2015.
The second barge is expected by the second quarter of next year.
Additionally, the Kpone Tema Power plant, which will produce 110MW of power, is currently under construction and is expected to come on stream in 2015.