The President of Ghana John Mahama and the Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheik Al Gaith, have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct a 350MW power plant in the Western Region.
The plant will boost government’s efforts of increasing power generation to 5,000MW by 2016. The project will be undertaken by the TAQA, an Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and it is expected to produce 100MW of power during its first phase.
Ghana has experienced intermittent power supply which has raised concern over the state of the country’s energy sector. Ghana’s national electric energy consumption was 265 kilowatthours per capita in 2009. Its current total installed capacity is about 2,800MW, with the country’s demand of between 7% and 8% per annum, which has compelled the government to explore several options, including renewable sources and coal-powered plants to ensure enough supply for consumption.
According to the Head of Communications and Presidential Spokesperson, Ben Dotsey Malor, the UAE has offered US$100m grant to the government from the Abu Dhabi Development Fund for the execution of various infrastructure projects.
Ghana generates electric power from hydropower, fossil-fuel, thermal energy and renewable energy sources. The Akosombo Hydro Generating Station, the largest hydro installation in the country, generates 1020 Megawatts of power. However, the Dam is expected to record poor inflow of water in the next two years, which will lead to a shortfall in electricity generated from hydro. The Station, according to sources, has been over-drafting for the last six years. The country’s energy-mix is made up of 1180 Megawatts hydro by the Volta River Authority; Bui Hydro 400MW; thermal (VRA) 922MW; thermal — Independent Power Producers 310MW; and solar 2.5MW.
Rising electricity demand, which is driving a shift from hydro power generation to thermal power generation, according to energy experts requires more investors in the oil and gas sector that will produce gas to power thermal plants. The largest power producer, the VRA, has had to rely on the importation of expensive crude oil to power its plants.