Ghana has taken full ownership of the 250-megawatt (MW) power production plant from the African and Middle East Resources Investment Group, otherwise known as AMERI Energy.
The 10-unit barge, with the capacity to generate 25MW each, totalling 250MW, which is commissioned on natural gas, is set to be moved to Anwomaso in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
The takeover and the relocation of the plant, the Ministry of Energy said, would rake in about $31 million annually from power export and $4 million as saving on transmission loss cut back.
The power barges were handed over to the Volta River Authority, which received the plant, on behalf of the government, at the Aboadze Power Enclave in the Shama District in the Western Region on Thursday.
It comes after the expiry of the five-year production and sale of power agreement signed between the government and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company.
The Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, in a speech, read on his behalf by one of his Deputy ministers, Mr William Owuraku Aidoo, said the deployment of the power plant to the Ashanti Region was strategic.
He said from a barge, the power plant would now be mounted on a trailer for it to be relocated to Anwomaso to improve the reliability of power supply in the middle and the northern sections of the power grid and for export.
He said preparatory works at the site where the plant would be sited were at an advanced stage and on schedule for completion.
He said the project would also promote the extension of the gas pipeline, which hitherto ended in the Western Region, saying: “The presence of natural gas in the region will stimulate other productive non-power uses of our indigenous natural gas resource.”
He said the government remained committed to a vision of a stable, robust, affordable power supply, as that was key to industrial growth.
“We promised to keep the lights on, and the ministry is doing exactly that, despite a few challenges. In achieving this, let me say that the Amandi Power Project — a 200MW Twin City Energy Project — has been completed, achieved commercial operation and dispatching power to the grid,” he said.
The minister indicated that a 50MW grid-connected solar plant at the Bui Hydro Generating Station had also been completed and commissioned.
“We have continued with improvement in the transmission system reliability by implementing other projects. These projects include the Kumasi-Kintampo Lot of the 330KV Kumasi-Bolgatanga Transmission Line Project which is complete and the line has been energised,” he said.
Dr Prempeh added that the Volta-Achimota Lot of the 161KV Volta-Achimota-Mallam Transmission Line Upgrade Project was 83 per cent complete, while the Achimota-Mallam segment was 55 per cent complete.
Others are the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point Project, which has been completed, and the Kasoa Bulk Supply Point Project, which comprises a re-construction of a section of the 161kV Winneba-Mallam Transmission lines and a tie-in-works, which is almost complete.
The minister announced that the government was securing funding to improve the National Interconnection Transmission System (NITS) in the Ashanti and the Northern regions (Siemens–Ghana collaboration) and commence the construction of the GRIDCo Western Corridor Transmission Upgrade Project (WCTUP).
He said the government was also committed to achieving universal coverage of electricity by 2024, saying 162 communities were connected to the national grid in 2021, with 512 communities at various stages of completion.
Electricity access rate, he said, had moved from 85.17 per cent in 2020 to 86.63 per cent in 2021.
“In 2022, the ministry will work to complete many projects, with approximately 800 towns expected to be connected to the national grid under the SHEP-4, SHEP-5 and Turnkey projects,” he said.
The Director of Thermal Generation at the VRA, Mr Edward Obeng-Kenzo, said Ghana’s power system currently had low voltage around the Ashanti Region to the northern part of the country.
“This is mainly because all the power plants in the country are located in the southern, eastern or western part of the transmission network,” he said.
He indicated that the only plants in the middle of the transmission network were the 400MW Bui Hydro Power plant and the Bui Power Solar project.
“Therefore, the relocation of the 250MW AMERI Power plant to the Ashanti Region will enable the country to export an additional 50MW to neighbouring Burkina Faso,” he said.
The export of power, Mr Obeng-Kenzo said, would fetch an additional income of $31 million annually and also reduce transmission system loss by 15MW, estimated at $4 million or about GH¢23 million annually.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, commended the government for paying the full cost of the plant, saying its relocation would go a long way to help improve Ghana’s power system.
The Country Manager of AMERI Energy, Mr Francis Kofi Kpolu, said his outfit was happy with the achievement through the new lease model and expressed the hope that it would have other projects through future collaborations.
The government, on February 15, 2015, entered into an agreement with AMERI Energy to build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) the power barge for five years, after which the country would assume full ownership of the plant.
The AMERI deal was signed as an emergency power agreement to fill Ghana’s power generation gap, which was then in deficit, necessitating nationwide power rationing, which commonly became known as ‘Dumsor’.
During the five-year production and sale of power to the VRA, per the agreement with AMERI, the government, through the VRA, made payments to AMERI for the power produced and supplied to the VRA, just like any other independent power producer.
LC of $51 million
Again, the government, per the agreement, was required to provide a standby letter of credit (LC) for $51 million, which LC has been raised.
Per the agreement with AMERI, the government, through the VRA, made payments to AMERI for power produced and supplied to the VRA.