Business News of 2013-12-16

Energy generation capacity to be increased - Kofi Buah

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has pledged government’s commitment to increasing energy generation capacity in view of the increasing demand of power consumers.

He said the demand for electricity was growing by 10 per cent annually and that government’s target of increasing the country's energy capacity by 500 megawatts this year was on course due to the expected 400 megawatts power from the Bui Dam project and 12 per cent from the Kpong plant.

He therefore entreated power producing companies, including the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Takoradi International Company, to work closely in ensuring that government's vision of making Ghana a net exporter of power was realized in the shortest possible time.

Mr. Buah said this when he paid a working visit to the Aboadze Thermal Plant to familiarize himself with the progress of work.

He said the country was on course in becoming a hub of power generation in the sub-region and a springboard for Africa’s advancement and called for the support of all stakeholders in achieving this goal.

Mr. Buah indicated that a number of power producing companies such as Jacobson and Amandi were coming on board and very soon, and that the energy producing enclave of Aboadze would generate about 1000 megawatts of power. He called for the cooperation of the surrounding communities to ensure success.

On demands made by some chiefs and elders of the area concerning land compensation and pacification of the gods, Mr. Buah said government respected the traditions of the people in the area and would therefore engage the chiefs to ensure an amicable resolution of any grievance.

He said the traditional area would enjoy massive infrastructural development since more energy producing companies were relocating to the area and urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue higher education in order to gain employment with the companies.

Briefing the Minister on the T-3 repair works, Mr. Richard Badger, Director of Thermal Generation at the Aboadze Thermal Plant, said South West Research Institute, an independent energy firm from the USA, had been contracted to assess the damage on the four-unit gas turbines at the T-3 plant.

He suggested that while the assessment was ongoing, the plant should be re-commissioned to run on natural gas. He noted that the damage on the gas turbines was surmountable, with engineers working around the clock to make it functional in the next five or six months.

The T-3 plant was commissioned in March this by President John Dramani Mahama to generate 132 megawatts of electricity. However, it developed a fault in June, thereby halting its operations.

Meanwhile, some chiefs in the area who spoke to the GNA attributed the sudden breakdown of the facility to the anger of the gods of the area, saying that the authorities failed to perform the necessary rituals to pacify them before commissioning the plant.