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27.04.2007 General News

Energy Crisis---THE NDC ELECTRICITY POLICY PROGRAMME 1999-2001

By Ghana Palaver
In its Rejoinder dated 17th April 2007 to the NPP statement on the formation of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) to run the existing 161 KV transmission line system of the VRA, the NDC Parliamentary Minority referred to the NDC Government's policy document on electricity entitled "Government of Ghana: Statement of Power Sector Development Policy" presented by the then Minister of Mines and Energy, Mr. Fred Ohene Kena, to Parliament and to the World Bank in April, 1999. 'Ghana Palaver' has laid hands on a copy of the NDC policy document, which is revealing for the kind of strategies that the NDC had put in place to forestall a recurrence of the power crisis, but which strategies had been abandoned by the NPP Government on assuming office.
Part III of the Policy Statement, which we have reproduced below, is on the NDC Government's "GOG Reform Priorities (1999-2001). As the document makes clear, almost all the "crisis measures" announced by the NPP Government since February this year, are re-dusted and rehashed versions of the measures that the NDC had initiated 8 years ago but which the NPP Government had ignored. It is only with the onset of the self-created crisis that the Government has gone back to those measures – alas, 6 years too late.
The measures included the following:
Importation of emergency power plants;
Invitation to private companies to import and operate mobile power generation units;
The establishment, under a BOO (Build Own, Operate) scheme of an 80 MW single-shaft combined-cycle co-generation facility;
A joint venture BOO agreement between CMS Energy and VRA to increase the capacity of the Aboadze Thermal Plant from 330 MW to 660 MW.
The installation, commissioning and operation of the Japanese OECF financial barge (commissioned as the Osagyefo Barge by the NPP Government) to produce 125 MW of power
The development of additional large thermal power generation projects by foreign private entities to add a total of 880 MW to the national power supply;
The setting up of a Bui Development Committee to receive and evaluate proposals for the Bui Dan Project expected to generate between 200-400 MW of power;
The expedition of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project (WAGPP);
The establishment of Takoradi Power Company Ltd. (TAPCO) to handle the thermal power generation assets at Aboadze and the National Grid Company Ltd (GRIDCO) to take over the transmission and load dispatch assets and operate as the Electricity Transmission Utility.
Published below is the full text of Part III of the NDC Government's "Statement of Power Sector Development dated April, 1999 and titled:
"GOG's Reform Priorities (1999-2001).
If it reads like an NPP document of today, it is because it is the NDC document that the NPP Government has dusted and rehashed and presented as its own document.
Now read on---
"III GOG's Reform Priorities (1999-2001)
Building upon the new legal, regulatory and operational structure of power sector development, the GOG will over the medium term pursue reforms to address key bottlenecks and/or potential impediments that have emerged on the following three fronts.
Emergency Power Supply Expansion Plan
The "Power Crisis" of 1998 highlighted the country's continuing vulnerability to fluctuations in hydroelectric power supply from the VRA's existing facilities at Akosombo and Kpong.
In November 1997, VRA confirmed that annual inflows from the Volta Lake catchment area into the reservoir for the Akosombo Power Station had been very much below the long term average. Accordingly, VRA recommended that the GOG should authorize a sharp curtailment of hydropower supply from the Akosombo and Kpong generation facilities. Moreover, because the commissioning of VRA's Takoradi Thermal Power Project had run into unforeseen delays, the VRA was not in a position to cover the deficit in hydropower supply from domestically produced thermal power. Further, contingency arrangements for VRA to import power from La Cote d'Ivoire were explored but did not prove adequate. This precipitated mandatory shedding of loads throughout the country by VRA and ECG, beginning in early February, 1998.
Under the circumstances, the GOG decided in March 1998 to pursue a 3-Point Plan of Action (the "Emergency Power Supply Expansion Plan"), comprising short and medium term measures to:
Increase and stabilise power imports from La Cote d'Ivoire
Secure additional power supply by entering into short term contracts with private sector operators of mobile (barge mounted or skid-mounted) diesel and gas turbine generation sets, and
Accelerate the build up of larger thermal power generation facilities through joint ventures between state-owned power utilities and foreign strategic investors.
As a result, the GOG has made the following commitments for increasing power imports from La Cote d'Ivoire and for the expansion of thermal power generation capacity in the country.
Power Imports from La Cote d'Ivoire: Following a visit to Abidjan in March 1998, by a high level GOG delegation, led by the Vice-President H. E. Professor J.A. Mills, to meet with counterparts of the Government of Cote d'Ivoire (GOCI), the President of La Cote d'Ivoire, H. E. President Konan Bedie assured the GOG that the amount of firm power supply to be made available by the Compagnie Ivoirienne d'Electricite (CIE) for export to VRA for the benefit of Ghana, Togo, and Benin would be increased five-fold (from 20 MW in 1997) to 100 MW during 1998 and 1999. Further, it was agreed that a proportion of the above emergency power imports from La Cote d'Ivoire would be transferred by VRA to the Comunaute Electrique du Benin (CEB) for distribution in Togo and Benin, in line with the existing contractual obligations of VRA to CEB. The CEI, VRA, and CEB are currently following power supply arrangements based on these inter-governmental understanding.
Mobile Power Generation Units: The GOG invited private companies to bring into the country and operate a number of mobile power generation units.
*To Be Continued
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