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09.03.2009 Business & Finance

Major Facelift for energy sector ….as gov`t eyes generating 5,000mw power capacity

By Daniel Nonor ([email protected]) - Ghanaian Chronicle

The energy sector of the economy has been earmarked for a major facelift as government has outlined major outlook in Energy to rollout a programme for the Government's Energy for Growth Agenda this year.

In its maiden budget statement presented to parliament last Thursday, government sated its programme to generate up to a capacity of 5,000 megawatts of power in the medium term, add capacity at the transmission and distribution levels, open up the sub sector to independent power producers and private sector participants, increase access to electricity in all households and reduce the cost of electricity production to achieve lower tariffs.

The full Budget document specifies that the Volta River Authority's 126 megawatts Tema Thermal 1 Power Plant, would be completed and commissioned in the first quarter of this year as well as the completion of the 49.5 megawatt Tema Thermal 2 Power Plant and the ongoing 230MW Kpone Thermal 1 Power Plant at Tema, as well as the Bui Hydro Power Project.

Additionally, government will support the independent power producer initiative to enhance private sector investments in power generation. “The refurbishment of the 125 megawatts Osagyefo Power Barge (OPB) Project will be completed this year. The development of infrastructure for supply of natural gas from the Jubilee Field will be accelerated this year to ensure that gas from the field is utilised for the operation of OPB. The completion of these projects will add substantially to the country's power generating capacity and move us towards our vision of achieving 5,000 megawatts in the medium term.”

The Minister of Finance has also indicate that government will continue to pursue efforts to get sustainable natural gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGPP) for generation and other industrial uses, whiles ensuring that the technical and operational difficulties regarding the delivery and the use of compressed gas are resolved.

The use of natural gas, the Minister said will enable Government to achieve lower power generation cost and therefore lower electricity tariffs.

He said a number of ongoing critical projects will be continued this year to improve the operation of the transmission system to deliver reliable, safe and efficient services. These projects include Obuasi-Kumasi 161 kV transmission line, Substation Upgrade Project and SCADA modernization project.

Also to be pursued is the 330 kV Aboadze-Tema coastal transmission line project. A third Bulk Supply Point Project and a second Bulk Supply Point Project in Kumasi will be intiated

Also, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Department (NED) have been earmarked to continue the implementation of projects which are aimed at significantly improving their operations. These include prepayment metering expansion programme, upgrade of medium voltage network, including the construction of additional primary substations, construction of call centres to enhance customer service operations and upgrade of the Low Voltage networks.

Government has also outlined programmes to increase the pace of the expansion of access of electricity under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) as well as implement ongoing electrification projects such as the Grid extension to 130 communities; Extension of National Electricity Grid to 200 communities under the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP 4), Extension of electricity to 600 communities throughout the country and the Completion of the extension of the National Electricity Grid to 16 communities in the Upper Denkyira District.