THE VICE President, John Dramani Mahama, yesterday cut the sod for the commencement of a 132 Megawatts (MW) Combined-Cycle Power Plant Project (T3) at the Volta River Authority (VRA) power station at Aboadze, near Takoradi, which is expected to expand the Takoradi Thermal Power Station Project.
The T3 project, which is estimated to cost over $185 million, is being financed with a loan from the Canadian government, Societe General of Canada and Investment Bank.
The plant, which comprises of four gas turbines, heat recovery steam generators and two steam turbines, will run on light crude, diesel oil and natural gas.
The Vice President mentioned that the government is committed to increasing the current installed power generation capacity of the country from about 2,000 MW to 5,000MW in the medium-term by 2015.
“This is in line with government's vision of making electrical energy available to industries and household as well as reducing poverty”, he said.
He noted that the country is poised to become a net exporter of power; hence, the construction of some power plants, including the Bui Hydroelectric Power Project that seeks to add about 400MW to the existing capacity.
“Government is also undertaking some thermal power plant projects in some parts of the country to add another 500MW to our power generation portfolio”, he added.
Mr. Mahama urged Ghanaians to protect the project by reporting to the appropriate quarters people who are engaged in illegal connections.
He said it is sad to note that only 66 percent of the country's population has access to electricity, stressing that in the Western Region, 59 percent of the population enjoyed electricity.
He gave the assurance that the government will increase the number of communities connected to the national grid from the current 400 to about 1,000 in the next three years.
Mr. Mahama then appealed to the youth of the area to prepare themselves for the oil business since “expatriates would come and take over”.
Kweku Andoh-Awotwe, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VRA, noted that his outfit is committed to supplying electricity for the socio-economic development of the country.
He indicated that the generating plant had a dual firing capability to burn Light Crude Oil (LCO) as well as natural gas.
The Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, disclosed that the power sector in the country is currently going through some financial challenges, making it difficult for the suppliers of electricity to deliver efficiently and effectively to meet the demands of the people.
The Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, pointed out that there can never be any serious economic breakthrough without reliable and efficient supply of energy, explaining that the government will ensure that the right infrastructure is put in place to develop the nation.
“We would always balance the interest of investors, who do genuine business in the country, with those of the host communities for the mutual benefit of all”, he stressed.
He commended the Canadian government for the investment and called on the VRA to take good care of the plant after its completion.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Aboadze