Business News of Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Government has dismissed as false, reports that Ghana is purchasing power from Ivory Coast to end the painful power-rationing regime endured by Ghanaians for almost four years.
Deputy Power minister John Jinapor has explained Ghana does not need its western neighbour to end load-shedding, rather it buys power from Ivory Coast for strategic reasons.
"The assertion that load shedding is over because we are importing power from Cote D'Ivoire is not true", he said on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Wednesday.
There are media reports from the Finder newspaper Ghana is importing 185megawatts of power from Côte d'Ivoire while thermal power plants lie idle in Ghana.
According to the paper, this is because power from the western neighbour is cheaper than power produced in Ghana.
Côte d'Ivoire generates thermal power at the cost of 9 cents per kilowatt hour and sells it to Ghana for 11 cents while thermal plants in Ghana sell their power from 14 cents and above, the paper reported.
"If you don't do the analysis well, you might look at it from a flawed point of view...we give power to Ivory Coast...we give power to Togo, we give power to Benin and sometimes we take power from Ivory Coast," he explained.
The deputy minister explained that West African countries have entered into a power pool to share electricity. In that spirit, Ghana may take hydro-power from Ivory Coast if it proves cheaper than power from Ghana's Kpone Thermal Power Plant.
The deputy minister has emphasised that "with or without Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana is self-sufficient with power production".
He explained that the arrangement with Cote d'Ivoire is a power-sharing deal. "Anytime we take power we pay and anytime we give them power, they pay us," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with sharing power," he said and referred to enduring power-sharing arrangements between Britain and Germany.
He admitted however that sometimes power from Ivory Coast is cheaper. Cost is however not the only reason why government buys power. "In business, you don't just look at cost alone. We look at sustainability and market penetration," he said.
Explaining why Ghana has entered into a power-sharing deal with its neighbour, the deputy minister said it is for strategic reasons.
Ghana is sharing because it wants to conserve its own sources of power for a rainy day, he indicated.
The water level in Akosombo Dam as at October 25, 2016 was 252.55 feet, 25.45 feet less than the 278 feet required for the Dam to be full. Although the Akosombo dam is full enough to power all its six turbines, government is deliberately deploying only three turbines.
"We are... conserving the three. So you must be strategic because of the experience we have had, we are taking every step to ensure that we build redundancy," he explained.
Using only three turbines, he said, could mean the Akosombo dam could keep running for two or three years longer than if all six turbines are used.
A depleted hydro-dam could bring back the crisis within say a year if water level is used up, he said.
Government is also not using other power plants because it is reserving diesel as part of a plan to ensure government builds redundant power to cover the country in emergencies and prepare for the future.
According to the deputy minister, Cote d'Ivoire also distributes power to other neighbours like Togo and Benin by channeling it through Ghana because of the "robust nature of our power system".
He signaled that government is working to deepen the cooperation with Cote d'Ivoire."We are even in discussions with Cote D'Ivoire to do a gas pipeline so that we can share our natural resources together".