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15.03.2007 General News

Test Run On Generators Starts Next Week

Test run of the first batch of power generating plants to supply 50 megawatts of power will commence next week.

That will pave the way for the supply of power into the system by the end of this month, under the government's emergency power programme.

The generators would be powered by diesel connected directly from a standby reservoir a few meters away.

Story by Charles Benoni Okine

These were revealed yesterday when the Minister of Energy, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, and his deputy, Mr K.T. Hammond, paid a visit to the Tema Drydock and Shipyard, where the generators had been installed.

The visit also took the minister and his entourage to another site behind the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) being prepared to house additional 53 generators to produce 60 megawatts of power.

Mr Adda told journalists who accompanied him on his visit that “this one will also be ready by the end of April so that we have 110 megawatts supply of power into the system by next month”.

He also visited the sites for another plant being fully financed by a group of mining companies in the country to augment power supply by 80 megawatts and the VRA site which would also produce 126 megawatts.

After the tour, Mr Adda expressed the government's determination to make the power challenge in the country a thing of the past.

He said the project by the mining companies would be ready by the middle of June while that of the VRA would be fully operational on September 1, 2007.

At the ECG site, giant transformers had been fixed and distribution was ready to be done from the plants.

The country is currently experiencing one of its worse energy crisis, which has largely affected the cost of operations of many industries and institutions throughout the country.

The country relies heavily on the Volta Lake for the generation of power but due to the low level of water in the lake, the VRA has compelled the ECG to ration power to prevent a national calamity.

The present shortfall of supply is pegged at about 300 megawatts but the minister was optimistic that with measures being undertaken by the government, there would be enough to meet the future needs of the country.

President J.A. Kufuor, who is also the African Union Chairman, announced in January in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament that measures had been put in place to solve the energy problems in Ghana.

He said $500 million had been earmarked to undertake short to medium and long-term programmes to address the situation.

“We all heard what the President promised,” Mr Adda recalled and said, by the end of the third quarter, we will have about 450 megawatts of power, enough to get things in shape.

Mr Adda said independent power suppliers would also begin to supply power, adding that all these measures formed part of the process to ensure that the problem the nation presently encountered would be a thing of the past.

When asked about the impact of the new generation of power on tariffs, he replied, “Our present task is to solve the power shortage. We will count the cost of generation and distribution later and if there is a decision, we will make it known”.

Mr Adda admitted, however, that the plants were going to run on diesel and light crude oil, which were expensive, but declined to comment further.

Story by Charles Benoni Okine