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12.04.2007 General News

Energy Crisis Will Stay With Us Till Next Year - Akosombo Hydro Engineer

By Felix Owolabi Azameti (Freelance)
Energy Crisis Will Stay With Us Till Next Year - Akosombo Hydro Engineer

The Hydro Engineer in charge of the Aksosombo Dam, Kirk Koffie, has stated in very clear terms that there is no way the current energy crisis would abate in the remaining seven months of this year.

This telling revelation was made when Prof Mills paid a working visit to the Dam site yesterday as a follow up to his press conference to see how the already bad situation was being managed by the men on the ground.

Speaking to Prof Mills and his entourage, Engineer Kirk Koffie said that at the current precarious level of 236 ft, which is only one feet above the lowest acceptable level of 235 ft, there is no way any amount of rainfall this year would be able to make the Dam operate at full throttle and thereby get the nation out of the dark.

According to the Hydro Engineer who has been working with VRA for 26 years, the Dam operates in such a way that whatever “bumper” rain that could be harvested this year, would only be put to use next year.

Speaking like a true professional and sounding quite sentimental because of his years of attachment to the Dam, Kirk Koffie assured Prof Mills that there is no way he would throw his professionalism aside and succumb to any pressure to do anything that would collapse the Dam completely.

“We are managing a bad situation and we cannot afford to go below the current level” Mr. Koffie said.

Prof Mills assured the engineer and his team that the country was solidly behind them in these trying moments and asked him to stay glued to his professional calling and not do anything that would collapse the Dam since it took a lot of resources to build it, and has also taken lots of resources to keep it running up till now.

Prof Mills was accompanied by NDC National Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, National Organiser, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Deputy National Treasurer, Bertha Amenuvor, Hon. Doe Adjaho, Hon. Dr. Kwame Ampofo, Hon Mahama Ayariga, Hon Inussah Fuseini, Eastern Regional Chairman, Julius Debrah, as well as some party faithfuls.

The Dam which operates on 6 turbines is currently operating on only 2 thus making it operate far below its capacity.

The Dam was commissioned in January 1966 and started with four units with a total installed capacity of 588 megawatt and an additional 2 units was added in 1972 to increase the capacity to 912 megawatts.

After 30 years successful operation of the generating units at Akosombo, VRA, in looking ahead for the next 30 years, of trouble-free reliable and economic operations embarked on the retrofit project in 1992.

The objective of the project was to modernize, upgrade and improve the performance, reliability, maintenance and operations of the Plant.

The then NDC government therefore supported the VRA to replace the existing runners with more efficient ones, modified the water passages to improve flow, rewound the generators with higher class insulation to up rate and restore their integrity, replaced the electromechanical governors with electronic ones, replaced the rotary exciters with static ones, and the station auxiliaries were also replaced and/or refurbished.

The VRA is really in dire straights and from the submission of Engineer Kirk Koffie, what it means is that any talk by the NPP that they would be solving the energy crisis “very soon” should be taken with a lot of circumspection as the Bui Dam, even if construction starts this year, would take over 5 years to build.

Of course, with the NPP not coming clean and telling Ghanaians the true state of affairs, especially as the president and his men have lied once too many, Ghanaians must really brace up for harder times ahead.