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General News of Thursday, 27 March 2014

Source: Al-Hajj

‘Dumsor’ ends finally

-As Asogli, TICO restore 400MW

Following dramatic improvements in Gas supply from Nigeria and the successful completion of upgrade works at the Takoradi International Company (TICO), normal power supply is expected to be restored earlier than thought to end the ongoing load shedding exercise, The Al-Hajj can report.

With independent power producer, SunonAsogli now producing at full capacity of 200 MW and TICO set to come on stream with another 200MW of power which will bring total restored generation to 400MW, Ghana’s energy challenges popularly christened “Dumsor Dumsor” barring any unforeseen challenges, would be a thing of the past by Monday, March 31, 2014, according to aL-hAJJ’s dependable source. Even more refreshing to electricity consumers in the country, according to the source, is the imminent production of gas from the $850 million world class Processing Plant at Atuabo to power the Volta River Authority (VRA) plants at Aboadzi in June this year, barring any mishap.

Engineers working on the Gas plant say it would start with 30 MMBtu/d and increase progressively to 60MMBtu/d and then to 90MMBtu/d, reaching its normal of 120MMBtu/d. According to experts in the energy sector, except for force majeure, with the start of the local production of gas from the Atuabo Gas processing plant, Ghana will no longer suffer setbacks in the power sector as often experience whenever Nigeria was unable to supply it with gas. Though the “Dumsor Dumsor” will be over, VRA engineers say intermittent power outages due to faulty transformers and shutdown of plants for repair works, will not ceased. Ghanaians have been enduring erratic power supply after electricity consumers contended with almost a year-long load management between 2012 and 2013. This was occasioned by shortage in the supply of gas from Nigeria to power thermal plants in Tema and Takoradi to generate power to complement what is produced from the Akosombo Hydro-electric Dam.

Currently, Ghana’s installed capacity is about 2, 850MW. The Akosombo Hydroelectric Power Plant generates about 1, 020MW of energy, followed by Bui Dam, which also produces 400MW, Aboadze Thermal Power Plant and the Takoradi Thermal Power Plant produce 360MWand 330MW respectively. But, decline in gas supply from Nigeria forced the shutdown of Sunon-Asogli and one of the thermal plants in Takoradi. As a result of this coupled with expansion works at the Takoradi T2 thermal plant, the country lost over 500MW. Bui electric dam, which is managed by the Bui Power Authority which has a generation capacity of 400MW, unfortunately is presently producing less than 200MW due to low level of water. This development forced officials of VRA, Ghana Grid Company and the Electricity Company of Ghana, producers, transmitters and distributors in the power sector respectively, to formally announced a "temporary load management" exercise which began Monday, March 17. In the wake of the crisis, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, on the instructions of President John Mahama, visited Nigeria and held talks with his counterparts in a bid to solving the energy crisis. His visit, according to government sources yielded positive results as gas supply from Nigeria, which dropped to a record 30 million standard cubic feet per day prior to the Minister’s visit shot up to 50 million as of last Monday and is expected to go up by Friday.

However, Engineers working on both the VRA and TICO power plants last weekend expressed optimism that by yesterday Wednesday, March 26, 2014 works on the additional 100 megawatts would have been completed and brought on stream injecting 200 megawatts of power onto the national grid.

“We also hope that gas volumes from Nigeria will improve soon and work on Atuabo will be completed to enable us to add another 70MW from T3 and 130MW from units in Tema which are commissioned to run on only gas. The Asogli plant is also expected to operate fully,” they said.