The Energy Minister, Hon. Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh popularly known as NAPO has charged the newly constituted Board of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to work together with stakeholders to keep the lights stable for Ghanaians.
He made this assertion when he inaugurated the newly constituted Board on Tuesday morning at the Ministry’s conference room. “Constant electricity is crucial for our daily activities and economic growth. I, therefore, charge this Board to work collaboratively to ensure that the lights are stable to support Ghana’s economy” he said
The Minister said another key area of interest to him is ridding the energy sector of intra-sector debts. This measure according to him is to enhance the liquidity of entities to ensure seamless service delivery.
“As part of tackling the challenges of the VRA, I want to urge the Board to take steps to settle debts owed other companies so that collectively we can make progress” he stressed
Chairman of the Board, Mr Kofi Tutu Agyare on behalf of other members expressed their commitment to the VRA project and assured the minister of their time to ensure that the organization is robust in service delivery.
Other members include Emmanuel Twum Antwi Darkwa, Hon. Kwame Anyimadu Antwi and Rev. Dr Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Others are Most Rev Dr Cyril K Ben Smith, Mr Musa Badimsugru Adam, Mr Solomon Adjetey Sowah and Madam Janet Anane.
About Volta River Authority
The Volta River Authority was established on April 26, 1961, with the mandate to generate, transmit and distribute electricity under the Volta River Development Act, Act 46 of the Republic of Ghana.
However, following the promulgation of a major amendment to the VRA Act within the context of the Ghana Government Power Sector Reforms in 2005, the VRA’s mandate has now been largely restricted to the generation of electricity. This amendment has created an enabling environment to attract Independent Power Producers (IPPs) into the Ghana Energy market.
The amendment also hived-off the VRA’s transmission function into a separate entity designated the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), while the distribution agency, the Northern Electricity Department (NED), established in April 1987, also evolved into the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), a wholly-owned, standalone subsidiary of the VRA
The VRA has diversified its power generation portfolio to take advantage of available and sustainable sources of energy mainly hydro and natural gas, liquified petroleum products and renewables.
The Authority owns and solely operates a total installed electricity generation capacity of 2,512.5MW. The two main hydro dams, Akosombo and Kpong Generating Stations both located on the Volta River have 1,020MW and 160MW respectively; with a complement of 2.5MW Solar PV Plant at Navrongo in the Upper East Region and a 6.5MW Solar PV Plant at Lawra in the Upper West Region.
The VRA also owns several thermal plants located in Aboadze near Takoradi, and the Tema enclave. The Authority’s thermal facilities some of which are combined-cycle generating systems, include the 330MW Takoradi Thermal (T1) Power Station, a 345MW Takoradi International Company Thermal (T2) Power Plant, which is a joint venture (JV) between VRA and TAQA from Abu Dhabi; a 110MW Tema Thermal 1 Power Plant (TT1PP) now designated Station 2, an 80MW Tema Thermal 2 Power Plant (TT2PP) as Station 3, a 220MW Kpone Thermal Power Station (KTPS) and a 250MW Ameri Power Plant.
Power Expansion Activities
As part of the Authority’s expansion programme, VRA is exploring the possibility of repowering the 132MW T3 Plant at Takoradi and converting the existing 220MW Kpone Thermal Power Plant (KTPP) into a combined cycle power plant. Decommissioning processes have begun on the 80MW Mines Reserve Plants to make way for the replacement of the plant with a more efficient type using the combined cycle generation technology.
There is the conversion of the Tema TT1PP/TCTPP single-cycle plants into a combined cycle as a Joint Venture with CENIT Energy Limited (CEL), a subsidiary of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
To diversify the Authority’s generation portfolio and assist to achieve the Government’s Renewable Energy (RE) Policy objective, VRA formulated a Renewable Energy (RE) Policy to develop and operate RE plants in an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner in its generation range. Accordingly, the first phase of the Renewable Energy Development Programme (REDP) instituted from 2011 to 2015, targeted the development of 14.5MW of solar PV and 150MW of Wind Energy. The programme for the second phase was set for 2016 to 2020 with about 100MW of Solar PV and 200MW of Wind Energy. As of the end of 2020, 9.0MW of Solar PV was in commercial operation and13.0MW was under construction and expected to be completed in 2021. The VRA also aims at expanding its 2.5MW Solar PV Plant at Navrongo in the Upper East Region of Ghana to 7.5MW and proposed construction of a 20MW Solar PV plant at Bongo, all in the Upper East Region.
The Authority in collaboration with the Government of Ghana and KfW Development Bank cut the sod in February 2020 for the construction of 17MWp Solar PV plants in Kaleo and Lawra in the Upper West Region. With significant upgrades made to the technical specifications of the plants, the initial 17MWp generation capacity was augmented to 19.5MWp, with Lawra producing 6.5Mwp and Kaleo, 13MWp of solar energy at no extra financial costs. The 6.5MW Lawra project was commissioned on October 10, 2020.
The Kaleo and Lawra solar projects will be expanded from a total of 19.5MW to 35MW under a similar financing arrangement with the Government of Ghana, KfW Development Bank and the Authority. Works will commence in 2021.
Seeking to increase the Authority’s renewable footprint, a Solar Rooftop Photovoltaic Installation with a capacity range of 79.22kWp to 100kWp was commissioned at the Head Office-Electro Volta House. The installation is estimated to reduce electricity consumption by some 9.5% while ensuring that some cost-saving is made on budgetary expenditure for electricity use by the Authority. Plans are underway to implement similar installations in the various VRA operational locations.
Despite the challenges with the timelines, the VRA is currently working to develop about 150MW of Wind Power at identified sites in the southern parts of the country based on wind resource potential. Feasibility Studies, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Grid Impact studies and Land acquisition have been concluded for the first 75 MW Wind Power project at Anloga, Srogbe and Anyanui in Volta Region for the project to kick off in 2021.
In November 2019, the sod was cut for the US$993m Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam Project. Estimated to contribute 60MW of hydroelectric power, the proposed dam is expected to provide a 25,000-hectare irrigation scheme, which will boost annual rice production by up to 117,000 tonnes and maize by up to 49,000 tonnes. It is also estimated to provide some 50MW of solar power aimed at stabilizing the power supply in the northern part of Ghana. The construction of the dam would also provide a permanent solution to the perennial flooding in the region caused by high volumes of rainfall and the associated spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso during the rainy season. Pre-commencement site activities have been completed and construction is expected to commence in 2021.