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Stop Overdrafting Akosombo & develop sustainable fuel strategy - Dr. Ackah calls.

Head of Policy at ACEP, Dr. Ishmael Ackah

Energy Policy Think Tank, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has expressed grave concern about the Akosombo Dam being put under serious pressure or “over drafting” by Volta River Authority (VRA).

Sounding alarm bells, ACEP say operating all the six turbines at peak period at the current water level in the lake as at April 18, 2016 standing at 238.22 feet or 72.609 meters, just three feet above the technically allowed operating level can be very dangerous for the health of the dam. The minimum operating level is 73.15m or 240ft. “Gradually, VRA is weakening or jeopardizing the health of the dam and this “is not sustainable and we will destroy the dam”, Head of Policy at ACEP, Dr. Ishmael Ackah revealed in an interview.

 Operating all the 6 turbines should give the country about 1000MW kilowatts of power but because of the low water level power in the Dam, all the six gives the country only 750 MW of power he added.

Turbines or Dumsor?

Technically, experts say VRA should be operating only three of the turbines if this risky business VRA is engaged in is to be avoided. But doing so means a gap of about 400 MW of power that will have to be filled or the country returns to “full scale dumsor”. And so VRA is forced to operate the 6 turbines at peak periods despite the risks involved. This current headache faced by VRA is as a result of the absence of the FPSO.

The FPSO Kwame Nkrumah would normally supply the needed gas to VRA thermal plants (TICO and TAPCO) to cover the current power gap but have now suspended operations pending the advent of the FPSO which is on a maintenance scheduled; VRA has had to fill in the gap with light crude oil.  This has now been extended to five weeks from two, leading to curtailment in gas supply to the Ghana National Gas company, ultimately affecting power generation. Another effect that Ghana is paying is a huge capacity charge to Ameri even though for over a month now that the FPSO is not supplying gas to the plant to generate power.

 

The taxes of ordinary Ghanaians are now being wasted on the Ameri plant as it cannot use oil to generate power. Reports from the power ministry has denied the assertion by the energy think tank ACEP.

According to Dr. Ackah, government and VRA should opt for combine cycle plants when procuring thermal plants. This will allow them to switch to other sources of fuel in times of shortage. However, this was not the case with respect to the Ameri plant, which relies only on natural gas although the country continues to pay for capacity charges even when the plant is not in operation.

 

 ACEP has also called on the government to reveal the state of VRA’s indebtedness to N-Gas, and the reason for the reduced supply of gas from Nigeria. The think tank asserts that government should as a matter of urgency use the proceeds of the energy ‘debt recovery levy to pay what it owes ECG, VRA among others.Dr. Ackah further stressed that the government should have a diversified sustainable fuel strategy by investing in renewables and regasification plant to enable LNG imports.

 Source Seibik Bugri

 

 

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