The current demand for energy in Ghana indicates that the Volta River Authority (VRA), the national electricity generator and supplier, no longer has surplus hydro-electric capacity for energy intensive industries.
Mr Erasmus Kalitsi, Former Chief Executive Officer of VRA, who made the observation, said such limitation would pose a major challenge to the establishment of an aluminium smelter company being proposed by the Government.
He noted that with the dream of universal access to electricity still being pursued within a target of 5,000 mega watts, setting up of a smelter company would require major partnership for alternative power supply.
Mr Kalitsi made the observation when he delivered a Public Lecture in Accra on Monday on the theme; “Powering the Economy of Ghana and Setting the Standard for Public Sector Excellence,” as part of activities to commemorate VRA’s 50th anniversary celebration.
The lecture also showcased major achievements of the Volta River Project (VRP) since its inception in 1961.
Mr Kalitsi said the VRP had achieved all its set objectives except the integrated bauxite and aluminium industry which was yet to be realised.
He said VRA’s current electricity penetration rate signified an index to improved living standards where demand for the commodity currently stood at 10 per cent per annum.
“Ghana’s access to electricity on average is 60 per cent which is the highest in Africa,” he added.
Mr Kalitsi challenged government to implement cost effective tariff regimes, pursue strategic timing of generation expansion programmes to prevent under-investment.
He said government should exhibit the political will to implement bold technological initiatives such as solar and wind power to complement existing sources of power required for the expansion of industrialized activities.
He noted that in powering the economy of Ghana and West Africa, the VRP had provided water supply and irrigation schemes, facilitated transportation and fishing schemes on the Volta Lake and expanded its Rural Electrification Scheme nationwide to bring about tremendous socio-economic advancement in the country.
Mr Kalitsi mentioned VRA’s significant contribution towards industrialisation in the mining and manufacturing sectors, as well as the commercial and domestic sectors which had led to the creation of jobs and improved living standards.