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VRA/chiefs agree to pacify gods over power enclave

Source: Graphic Online

The Volta River Authority, the chiefs, elders and the people of Shama Traditional Area have reached an agreement to pacify the displaced gods in the disputed power enclave at Aboadze in the Shama District of the Western Region.

This followed a warning from the traditional council that until the VRA pacified the gods of the land, a new Thermal Three (T3) plant to add 132 megawatts to the national grid would not materialize.

It will be recalled that the newly built plant T3, which was commissioned in March this year, developed a fault after three months and has since not worked.

After over an hour of deliberations between the ministry, led by the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah, VRA officials, Takoradi International Company (TICO) of TAQA, the parties agreed that a resting place would be built near the plant with the floor filled with water for the displaced God.

However, officials of the VRA have maintained that the problems resulting in the malfunction of the plant have been diagnosed as operational.

Giving a summary of the problems before the meeting with the chiefs and elders, Ing. Richard Badger, the Plant Manager said the operational problem encountered resulted in the damage of two of the four gas turbines of the T3.

He said the damage was such that the VRA could not continue running the plant and that it needed to launch an investigation to establish the cause of the problem.

“Per the agreement, VRA and the contractors came together and hired an independent expert, South-West Research Institute (SWI) with terms of reference to investigate,” he said.

He said SWI was to look into the fuel quality, operational issues before the problem, issues of designing and construction of the plant and the team came to the site and took the needed samples to begin investigations.

He said the challenges which resulted in the breakdown in the view of the VRA was due to the design of the fuel nozzle system, saying they did not think that the technology that was provided was atomizing the fuel properly to give efficient combustion required for the units to fire properly.

“We think there is deficiency in the design, and it needs some modification to get it run properly on light crude oil (LCO),” he said.

For his part, Mr Buah called for collaboration between the host community and operators of the facility to ensure socio-economic and industrial harmony.

Nana Kobina Atton III, the spokesperson for the team from the traditional council expressed joy at the intervention of the minister, saying it was very timely and assured that the chiefs, VRA, and the ministry would meet later to ensure that every issue was resolved.

The land acquisition, agreement and compensation

It is understood that at the time of moving the thermal unit to Aboadze, government through compulsory acquisition took over 400 acres of land from the people of Aboadze.

Food crops on the land was evaluated and paid for in cash by the state, and for the land itself, the negotiation led by Nana Ekuntan III, who is the Chief of Jomo, agreed as part of the compensation that VRA would build a cluster of schools for the community.

Aside that it was also agreed that the road network from the main junction would be extended to Aboadze, Abuasi and Jomo, which VRA did.

Another was a health facility, which VRA fulfilled by building a modern health facility known – VRA Hospital – at Aboadze.

Future lands acquisitions

In order to develop the place into a power enclave, the government was in talks with the community leaders to acquire land for further expansion of which work.

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