The dreaded return of a power crisis has been confirmed by policy think-tank African Center for Energy Policy which has said, government is facing financial challenges.
Executive Director Ben Boakye has said government is struggling to find money to buy fuel to power plants and generate electricity. “This is how Mahama’s ‘dumsor’ started in 2011, and 2012”, he noted the situation is déjà vu.
Ben Boakye ruled out installed capacity as the cause of the erratic power supply over the weekend.
“It is not a technical challenge,” Ben Boakye said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday.
Ghana has close to 4,420MW installed capacity (made up of plants and dams) – nearly a 100% more than it needs – the country needs only 2,500 megawatts at peak hours to power homes or businesses. But “We don’t have fuel” Ben Boakye declared.
He explained, Ghana’s Karpower, with capacity to generate 450MW, is now only producing 180MW because government has not held its side of the bargain by buying Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).
The 350MW Sunon Asogli power plant in Tema which has a daily gas requirement of 120m standard cubic feet of gas/per day (scfd) – gas expected to come from Nigeria – is getting just about a half of their requirement and therefore is unable to operate to full capacity.
The Western power enclave where TICO and TAPCO power plants can produce a combined 670MW is down due to technical challenges.
Ghana Gas company and Eni Ghana and West African Pipeline Company (WAPCo) are undergoing what is termed reverse flow project.
The project is aimed at ending dependence on WAPCo by roping in Ghana Gas company and Eni Ghana to push gas through a 150km pipeline.
When it ends as expected in June 2019, dense gas from the Ghana Gas company’s Aboadze power area to a host of gas-powered power plants in Tema including Sunon Asogli, Cenpower and other independent power plants would augment power generation significantly.
The Reverse Flow Project is a game-changer. It will mean trapped gas in the West and finally meet gas-hungry power plants in the East.
But before this game-changer happens, a lack of fuel is changing the game for Ghanaians grappling with uncertain supply of power which plagued the Mahama government between 2012 and 2016.
All that is needed to solve the problem is between 200MW and 3000MW supply.
A problem which the power plants in Tema alone could cure easily. If they had fuel.
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.