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General News
VRA outlines measures to solve energy crisis 7/24/2007
Accra, July 23, GNA - The Volta River Authority (VRA) on Monday outlined immediate measures including the installation of additional 392 megawatts of thermal power by the end of the year to bridge the supply deficit of 300 Megawatts.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on the energy situation, Mr Eric Yankah, Acting Chief Executive of the VRA, cited the installation of 96 megawatts emergency diesel plant, an 80MW from the Mines, 50MW from the Wood Group and 126MW strategic plant by the VRA, as short-term measures put in place to address the crisis.

He said the 126 MW Tema Thermal Plant would be expanded to a 330MW Combined Cycle. Other measures included the importation and free distribution of six million Candescent Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) to customers of up to 200 mega watts at peak times. Additionally, Mr Yankah said negotiations were still ongoing for use of the 125MW Osagyefo Barge.

He said currently, several Independent Power Producers (IPPs) such as the Wood Group, CenPower, a consortium of Local and international developers, Shenzen Engineering Group Company Limited of China, Ranhil of Malaysia, and a Brazilian Consortium were pursuing projects to inject over 1,000 MW into the system.

On the West African Power Pool Project, Mr Yankah said the system control centre facilities at Tema are being upgraded to manage the entire interconnection from La Cote d''Ivoire to Nigeria with funding from the World Bank.

He said the transmission line project was commissioned early February this year and is expected to be fully operational before the end of the year.

Mr Yankah said the long awaited gas from the West African Gas Pipeline is likely to hit the shores of Ghana by the end of the year. Touching on water level in the Akosombo Dam, Mr Yankah said there was ample water in the Akosombo dam and therefore there was no danger to the two turbines in operation.

Mr Yankah ruled out the complete shut down of the dam, saying it was unwise to do so considering the transmission failures that might come on the lines when there was total reliance on Aboadze. The minimum operating level of the dam is 240 feet. But the level of water in the dam currently stands at 234.96 ft, raising public concerns of the technical viability to operate the dam at such a low level.

"We are technically sure that at this level it is safe to operate the two turbines. VRA is being managed by professionals who have handled situations even at difficult times."

However, there would be a review of the situation on July 31 to consider whether it was still feasible to continue running the two units or switch to a single turbine.

"The engineers would not do anything to submit the integrity of the dam to peril. This is what we stand for, this is what we do and this is what we live for," he told journalists.

The low inflow of water to the Akosombo Dam has sparked a power supply crisis since August last year, resulting in a national load shedding programme.


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