Ghana’s energy sector needs private input – Mills

The Akosombo Dam - Ghana's main source of power

President John Evans Atta Mills has underscored the critical role of the energy sector to the nation’s growth and stressed the need for private participation in that sector.

In that regard, he has lauded Siemens Energy and Atholl Energy for their active participation in the energy sector as they prepare to undertake the second phase of a 180-megawatt power generation plant to .augment the nation’s power supply.

The President gave the commendation when the executives of Siemens Industrial Gas Turbines and Atholl Energy called on him at the Castle to brief him on the expan­sion plan for the power project.

The first phase of the Tema Thermal II Power Plant, Ghana’s first modular gas tur­bine power station to produce 50 megawatts of electricity from five turbines, has been completed and handed over to the Volta River Authority (VRA) for operation by the group.

As part of the second phase, Siemens is proposing to expand the capacity and increase production from the current 50MW to 120MW and a further increase to 180MW if preferred by the government.

President Mills endorsed the group’s plan for the expansion, stressing the need for various opportunities to be utilised to enhance power production in the country.

He said the government would co-operate with the group to ensure that the objectives for investing in the power plant were achieved for the benefit of Ghanaians.

Mr Nick Muntz, the Managing Director of Siemens Energy, the world’s second largest manufacturer of gas turbines which are primarily used for electricity generation and in the offshore oil and gas industry, who led the delegation, thanked the President for the support.

He said the group shared in the govern­ment’s development vision and would offer the necessary investment support towards power generation and job creation.

He explained that the plant, which was initiated under the emergency power pro­gramme as part of measures to enhance power generation to meet the growing power needs of households and businesses in the country, could also run on diesel if gas was not available.

“The plant will operate on gas full time as part of Ghana’s base load electricity gen­eration from January 2011,” he said.

Phase II, he said, involved the changing of the plant from a single cycle to a com­bined cycle with the addition of three gas turbines through which exhaust heat would be collected and used to drive the steam tur­bines.

“Operating on combined cycles with gas fuel, the station will be very economic and meet the highest standards of efficiency and low environmental impact,” he stressed.

The group, Mr Muntz said, was commit­ted to providing technical capacity and glob­al solutions to enable the government to achieve its better Ghana agenda for the ben­efit of Ghanaians.

Mr Thomas Svanikier, the Chairman of Atholl Energy, the contractors for the multi-million-dollar project, for his part, thanked the government and the partners for the co­operation which led to the successful com­pletion of the first phase, saying, “This is the best executed power project in Ghana in the last five years.”    ­

In addition, he said the group would con­tinue to contribute to the development of the energy sector by undertaking other projects that would help in achieving the government’s objective of increasing total power generation to 5,000 MW by 2012.

Mr Edward Effah, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, which provided financial backing for the project, assured the govern­ment that the bank would lead a syndication to finance the second phase of the project.

Source: Daily Graphic

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