Ghana plans to secure 3,000 megawatts of power to its installed capacity within four years, as part of a three-phase blueprint designed to fix problems riddling the West African country’s power sector.
In order to meet the targets, the West African country’s energy commission says it plans to woo investors into the power sector to achieve a “strong and non-congested transmission system”. This is expected to facilitate efficient transmission of power produced by the generation segment of the value chain.
There would be accelerated restructuring and re-organisation of Electricity Company of Ghana
“The programme to resolve the challenges in the power sector, and fix it, can be divided into three phases, indeed, 3,000MW generation capacity is to be added by 2020,” Ghana Energy Commission Board Chairman, Kwame Ampofo, told The Africa Report in an interview.
The government also has plans to roll out a national rooftop solar energy programme expected to cover 200,000 rooftops in the second stage of the power blueprint.
The result of the programme is projected to shave off 200MW of power from the grid and include net metering technology to enable beneficiaries of the scheme to interconnect with the grid.
“This means that, each building becomes a small generation plant that supplies self-generated solar power into the grid to boost the utility of the grid,” Ampofo said.
“As more homes are constructed, so will self-generated power grow to support the grid with inexhaustible power from the sun and from every home and rooftop.”
The power sector is riddled with short supply of natural gas from the West Africa Gas Pipeline, finance in procuring natural gas due to indebtedness, absence of pipeline linkage to transport locally processed gas and non-adherence to capacity expansion plans.
The energy commission stressed that stage three of the country’s power blueprint aims to fix the power problem forever – and not to manage it – by introducing a policy framework to eliminate administrative and legal bottlenecks bedeviling the sector.
Earlier initiatives taken by the government to deal with the crisis have been reported to have achieved significant results and removed the disparity between supply and demand in the first phase of the country’s power plan.
“There are ongoing plans in the second phase, covering a number of initiatives that seek to progressively add thermal generation units until available generation capacity exceeded demand plus adequate reserve margins of about 15 to 25 per cent of the installed capacity,” Ampofo said.
The commission envisages cutting problems of delayed investments, over drafting of the hydro dams, non-adherence to maintenance schedules, technical and maintenance challenges, and private sector investments in the transmission system.
220 MW every year
The proposed plan would also see the commission embarking on a nationwide retrofit programme to replace all compact fluorescent lamps in use with light emitting diodes (LED) as well as fixing automatic timers to freezers and set to isolate them during peak periods.
The mission is to further boost the energy efficiency of power consumption for lighting needs in Ghana, Ampofo said, and “for every one million freezers fitted with this device, 250 to 300MW of power could be shaved off the peak or the national load profile”.
“There would be accelerated restructuring and re-organisation of Electricity Company of Ghana to become a reliable off-taker of power, to ensure that wholesale electricity suppliers and the Grid Company all stay financially healthy,” he added.
Ghana’s erratic power situation worsened last year leading to many businesses folding up and many employers laying off workers. The development triggered labour unrest, forcing the government to open up the power sector to allow private players in electricity generation.
Two options were on the government’s agenda – partial privatisation or a concession contract – to attract investment in the state-owned power distribution company.
The Volta River Authority, Ghana’s main power generator, projected that about $1.5 billion was needed to improve the country’s power generation. Experts estimate that the country requires to generate at least 220 megawatts more annually to end the crisis.
– The Africa Report
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