The emergency barges being imported from Turkey to stabilize the power crisis in Ghana might arrive in the country between two to three months.
Alex Mould, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has told reporters in Accra April 7, 2015, that by his estimation, even though he is not sure what the technical people would say, the expected time of arrival of the barges could be around two to three months.
Early in February this year, the government asked the GNPC to provide $100 million to acquire two emergency power barges from Turkey. The two barges, the Minister of Power, Dr. Kwabena Donkor had told Parliament are expected to generate 450 megawatts of power, and they are expected into the country by the end of April 2015.
Some energy sector workers familiar with barges have spoken on anonymity with ghanabusinessnews.com and doubted the April timeline. They also raised questions about the country’s readiness to put the barges to use once they arrive in the country because there are no structures to connect the power from the barges onto the national grid – a technical term they define as ‘tie in’. Others also raised questions about where the barges would be stationed and how they would be powered.
“The country doesn’t need those barges, as it is only 450MW that is being shed. All that has to be done is to fix some of the existing plants that are broken down, and that can be done with less than a $100 million,” another source told ghanabusinessnews.com.
The country reportedly bought electricity from neighbouring Ivory Coast for the Easter holidays, to augment supply and to keep lights on for the traditional holiday.
The current installed energy capacity of the country is 2,846.5MW. The generation sources as at April 2015 are VRA hydro, 47 percent, VRA thermal, 36 percent, VRA solar, 0.1 percent, IPP thermal, 12 percent and Bui hydro, 5 percent.
He also said the GNPC will reduce the amount it is seeking to borrow from commercial banks in a deal with commodities trader Trafigura.
He said the loan will come down to $350 to $400 million from $700 million due to the falling prices of oil, which he said would make the GNPC seek a longer maturity period than expected.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi