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European company ABB in Ghana $13m power transmission equipment deal

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ABB Ltd., has won a deal to supply power transmission equipment to Ghana. The Swiss-Swedish engineering group says the $13 million worth of equipment will improve the management and control of Ghana’s national power transmission network.

The deal with the Volta River Authority (VRA) which is financed by the World Bank is an important component of the country’s 330-kV Coastal Transmission Backbone project, according to a report on the tmcnet.com has said.

The project is aimed at improving the reliability of power supplies by encouraging efficient power trading between the coastal countries of West Africa.

According to the report the project which is expected to be completed in 19 months is being carried out in cooperation with the Ghana’s electrical transmission provider Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), will supply, deliver, install and commission its supervisory control and data acquisition/energy management system (SCADA/EMS) and communications system.

The project will deliver remote terminal units for about 50 substations, fibre optic terminal equipment and the power line carrier communication system to connect the control center and the substations, as well as ancillary equipment such as uninterrupted power supply units, video surveillance systems and other telecoms components, the report said.

Ghana has been experiencing power shortages for some time now. The country’s only hydropower plant at Akosombo is facing a perennial water shortage which is affecting power supply, occasionally plunging the entire country into darkness.

The country has constructed a thermal plant in Takoradi to supplement its power supply needs and there is an ongoing project to build another 400 MW hydropower plant at the Bui dam in the Brong Ahafo region, but a lot more needs to be done to meet the power supply requirements that would bolster economic growth.

Presenting the 2009 Budget the Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor indicated that Ghana’s energy sector is in dire straights.

He said, “An immense proportion (76 per cent) of the Sovereign Bond proceeds was earmarked under the Government of Ghana (GoG) 2008 Supplementary Budget to cover capital expenditures for VRA, GRIDCO, ECG and Bui Power Authority (BPA).”

“In addition, GoG has been providing direct payments to cover VRA working capital requirements for crude oil purchases for the thermal plants.”

He said that notwithstanding, the GoG budgetary transfers had not been adequate to cover revenue shortfalls and/or re-capitalize the three power utilities.

“Clearly, the current state of affairs is unsustainable and should not be allowed to continue,” he said.

To arrest this situation, Dr Duffuor said government would develop and implement comprehensive remedial measures, especially re-capitalization, that would ensure the long term financial viability of VRA, GRIDCO and ECG.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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  1. This situation is unacceptable and should not be going on if Dr. Nkrumah is still alive. But the country should move on but tackling the situation head on and make sure energy security is permanently taken care of as well as become permanently part of our budget spending in building power grid for gas, solar and hydro dams for ongoing economic growth.