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General News of Thursday, 14 January 1999

Source: --

All district capitals connected to national grid - President declares in sessional address

Accra (Greater Accra), 14 Jan. '99 -

All district capitals are now connected to the national grid and the electricfication of a further 400 towns and villages en-route the various district capitals will be completed this year under the Self-Help Electrification Programme (SHEP).

One thousand six hundred homes, schools and health facilities in 10selected villages will be provided with solar energy under an on-going pilot programme.

President Rawlings said this in his sessional address to open the first meeting of the Third Session of Parliament of the Fourth Republic today.

He said to ensure energy security and increase future energy supply, the third phase of the Aboadze Themal Plant is expected to come in line by mid- 1999.

The VRA is negotiating with an American Company, CMS Generation of Michigan, to double the total capacity of the plant and to have the first 100 megawatts of this expansion on stream by the end of this year.

''The VRA has signed an agreement in principle ... with Marathon Power Company to build another thermal plant at Tema to provide 200 megawatts in the year 2000''.

Several investors have expressed interest in building the 400 megawatts Bui hydro-electric project and their proposals are being evaluated.

''Government is keen to interest local and foreign investors in developing other small to medium hydro-sites on commercial basis''.

The energy security programme also saw the refitting of the Tema Oil Refinery last year to increase its output from 28,000 to 45,000 barrels per day and the establishment of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company to ensure efficient country-wide strategic reserves and distribution.

He expressed the hope that feasibility studies for the West Africa Gas Pipeline project will be completed by the second quarter of this year.

''Meanwhile, discussions have been initiated with Cote d'Ivoire on supplies of natural gas fron that country to the Aboadze thermal plant to provide for cheaper and cleaner fuel'', he added