Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed that plans are far advanced to stop the importation of gas for generation of power by the middle of 2019.
According to him, “Ghana has enough gas to power all our plants without relying on imported gas”.
Dr Bawumia noted at an Economic Management Team town hall meeting in Accra on Wednesday, 3 April 2019 that gas is cheaper than liquid fuel, adding that a policy decision has been taken “to switch largely to the use of gas in energy generation” in the country.
The vice-president, however, pointed out that most of the gas reserves in Ghana are accumulated in the western part of the country even though most of the power generation plants are located easterly.
He said the West Africa Gas Pipeline supplies gas from the east to the west and “we are doing a reverse-flow to move the gas from the west to the east”.
“The first phase of the reverse-flow will be completed this month”, he said, and “the final [phase] and completion of this work should be done between July and August, the phase two of it, after which, fingers crossed and God willing, we should not import any gas anymore. We will use all domestic gas”.
Dr Bawumia said the switch, which will be completed this year, will save the country some $300 million annually.
He observed that: “Ghana has excess capacity in energy generation” but contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) are expensive and burdensome.
He said most of the arrangements are “take or pay”, so, the state has to pay for the power even if it is not being used.
“Ghana is currently paying $24 million a month in excess capacity charges alone for the power we have not used. This will increase to about $41 million a month later this year”, with other IPPs expected to take off soon.
“We have problems with transmission and the GRIDCo (Ghana Grid Company Limited) network is old and has been, thus far, unable to invest in high-capacity lines,” he added,
He was optimistic that the takeover of ECG (Electricity Company of Ghana) by PDS (Power Distribution Services) “should help bring in much-needed investments”.