It is wrong choice of plant; it is a lack of due diligence; it is a lack of appropriate planning by our authorities, and they must come out and explain why a taxpayer company like the VRA can invest so much in a 132-megawatt plant that Ghanaians cannot have. They should explain it to us.”
Power sector managers need to explain to Ghanaians why they went in for turbines meant to be run in submarines to be used in the 132-megawatt Takoradi 3 (T3) power plant, Mohammed Amin Adam of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has said.
The US$256 million thermal plant has been out of use just months after it was completed in November 2012, a situation owners of the land on which the plant is built blame on the fact that their gods have not been pacified.
Dr. Amin Adam argues, however, that the gods of the Aboaze area have nothing to do with why the T3 plant has let Ghanaians down.
“The reality is that it is not the gods; we made the wrong choice of plants. The turbines for T3 were configured to run in submarines; they were configured to run in low- temperature areas. And as I speak to you, they have no commercial operation history. They have not been run anywhere, and now we have brought it to run in a high-temperature area. So how is it going to work?” he asked.
Due diligence? While people are talking about T3 having challenges, nobody has really found out what those challenges are and what led us to those challenges. It is wrong choice of plant; it is a lack of due diligence; it is a lack of appropriate planning by our authorities, and they must come out and explain why a taxpayer company like the VRA can invest so much in a 132-megawatt plant that Ghanaians cannot have. They should explain it to us.”
Another challenge associated with the plant, he said, is the fact that kerosene or aviation fuel is the appropriate fuel for the plant, yet it has been configured to run on light crude oil.
“That is another problem; so there is everything wrong with T3. And I do not see T3 coming. This is why for all the plants that have problems, they brought the experts, but for T3 do you know what they have done? They have taken it out of the country for repairs – another cost to the country.” The country is said to have over 2,800 megawatts of generation capacity while peak electricity demand is around 2,000 megawatts. Ideally, therefore, Ghana should not be in a power crisis. But the sector managers say that only around 1,600 megawatts of the generation capacity is available to due to maintenance and fuel supply challenges among others.
As the Millennium Challenge Corporation readies its power sector support package, ACEP argues that the corporation needs to interrogate “the ideal ‘capacity” that Ghana has.
“This is because if we do not take into consideration how to make all the over 2,840 megawatts available, how do we talk about bringing in new generation capacity?” he asked.
The Takoradi T3 power plant is a combined-cycle power plant at the Volta River Authority (VRA) power station at Aboadze, j near Takoradi. It was meant to expand the Takoradi Thermal Power Station capacity by 132MW or 24 percent.
The T-l and T-2 plants at the Aboadze Thermal Station have a combined generation capacity of 340 megawatts.