Ghana adds 133 megawatts to power grid after inaugurating first phase of Chinese-funded hydro project
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama on Friday inaugurated one out of the three turbines of the 400 megawatt capacity Bui Hydroelectricity dam to add 133 megawatts to the national electricity grid.
The remaining two turbines, which would subsequently provide another 267 megawatts of electricity would be completed and officially inaugurated before the end of the year.
President Mahama in his inaugural addressed gave the assurance that government would work around the clock to ensure that the country enjoy power in the next 20 years and beyond.
The project, which was initially estimated at $622 million, is now expected to be completed the total of $790 million as a result of shortfalls recorded through economic upheavals and high cost of materials over the years.
Act 740 of 2007 established the Bui Power Authority to be responsible for the implementation of the Bui Hydroelectric project, executed by the Sinohydro Corporation of China under an engineering procurement and construction date of April 19, 2007.
It was funded with a $263.5 million concessional loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and a buyer’s credit of $298.5 million from the Chinese Export and Import Bank, with Ghana providing $60 million.
The main components of the Bui Power Project include; The Roller Compacted concrete, gravity dam incorporating a five-bay spillway, three penstocks in the middle of the dam, a power house at the toe of the dam on the left bank, a switchyard; 238 kilometres of transmission lines and a permanent bridge downstream of the dam.
Apart from serving as a hydroelectric dam, the project would also provide a potential 30,000 hectare irrigable land for food and cash crop production, fishery and animal production that would create jobs for the teeming youth in the area and beyond.
President Mahama paid tribute to former Presidents Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Mr John Agyekum Kufuor for their initiative towards the establishment of the Bui Hydroelectric Dam adding: “I must also commend the communities for their cooperation for the realisation of the project.”
He said government would generate about 5000 megawatts by the end of 2016 to meet both industrial and domestic demands for power and urged consumers to be judicious in the use of energy to avert future power deficiencies.
The President said discussions are being held with a power producer to generate additional 400 megawatts of power and as soon as that is completed work would commence.
He said economic growth hinges on electricity and called on the public and private organisations would take advantage of the facility to increase production.
Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy said the construction of the project was another measure government had taken to make up for the current deficiencies of energy generation and power supply in the country.
He said apart from making efforts to build another hydroelectric dam at Pwalugu in the Upper East Region, government would also develop solar and other alternative power generation to make Ghana self-sufficient in the commodity.
Mr Jabesh Amissah-Arthur, Chief Executive Officer of the Bui Power Authority commended the contractors and workers for working assiduously to meet deadlines that would augment the generation of power throughout the country.
He also expressed the gratitude of government and the Authority to the 1,216 people who had to be relocated to pave way for the construction of the project.
Mr Gong Jian Zhong, Chinese Ambassador, said the completion of the project further strengthens the relations between Ghana and China and would prepare the grounds for further collaborations that would bring mutual benefit.
President Mahama later switched on a substation constructed by Ghana Grid Company at Kintampo to serve under the Techiman-Buipe-Tamale transmission line to increase accessibility of electricity to communities in the catchment areas.