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Opinions of Friday, 30 April 2021

Columnist: Peter Antwi Boasiako

Energy Ministry's response makes NDC minority claims profoundly deformed

Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh

This is a very good expedited comprehensive response to the Minority in parliament claims on the power issues as due to lack of funds.

In fact, all these important transmission system upgrades as outlined in the Ministry's statement makes Hon. Ayariga's claims extremely lame and totally deformed.

The statement clearly shows some significant steps being taken by President Akufo-Addo's administration which will make the power transmission system more responsive to the growing demands all-over, especially, at the high density areas.

It further stresses on the point that the current power issues have nothing to do with generation capacity as experienced under NDC/Prez. JM administrations, which the Minority MPs seeks to equalise.

I am quite happy that our insistent calls and suggestions for the system upgrade and introduction of Static Var Compensators (SVC) or Power Factor Corrections (PFC) at the substations to drastically reduce the transmission lines losses and by so-doing help to control the voltage fluctuations, have received steadfast support and I can see some significant investment been made to purchase $15m Static Var Compensators, as can be gleaned from page-3 of the press release. Very impressive!

It was also great to read that a $250m MoU agreement was reached between the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and Siemens Energy, to upgrade Ghana's transmission system as was twitted recently by the CEO of Siemens Energy.

I take joy in this because Siemens Energy is also one of the companies with great expertise in high voltage transmission system upgrades which aims at driving transitions to more sustainable, reliable and affordable energy systems with their current innovative technologies.

This means that, the Kasoa Gas Installation Substation (Sulfur Hexaflouride Gas - SF6 Substation) which was commissioned in few days ago by the Minister of Energy has this in-built SVC equipment to help check reactive power losses, to ensure controlled Voltage level. Very good option.

Also, looking at the Ministry's attempt to provide lasting solution to the Voltage control issues which leads to load shedding in Kumasi anytime Bui Dam suffers water inflows, by transferring Ameri power plant to Kumasi to help boost the voltage level, is in the right direction.

In fact, when the Ameri Plant transfer project is completed, it will also pave way for other interested Independent Power Producers to use the opportunity to site generation plants in Ashanti region since there would be availability of gas supplied to Ameri Plant through Nyinahin to Kumasi.

This means that, the voltage fluctuations that occur as a result of huge power losses in the transmission lines from the southern part of Ghana to Kumasi would be curtailed permanently.

I would say that, the future of power transmission system looks quite bright under this govt with transmission voltage level being upgraded to 330kV across the entire nation, and perhaps possible move up to 400-500kV Ultra-High Voltage transmission in the near future, to ensure proper resilient reliable quality power supply.

I am sure that serious consideration would also be given to the upgrades of the Distribution Network System as well to complete the three arms of the power sector, thus Generation, Transmission and Distribution, to help reduce the enormous losses in the distribution system in Ghana.

These huge losses in the system are part of reasons why we have high power prices (high tariff) in Ghana. Gradually, I hope Ghana will get there.

As seen in page-1, the only skepticism I have in the Ministry's statement is the reason given that- the Gas flow challenges upstream which has to do with the WAPCo supply line and that of the "Gas Compressor fault reported by Ghana Gas lines". The question is, does it mean that the Ghana Gas plant have no resilient redundancy system which would prevent or reduce down-time when just one Compressor fails?

If that's the case that a failure of one Compressor could cause such disruption, then the Ministry of Energy may need to consider installing a redundancy system of the critical components at Ghana Gas plant with the intention of increasing reliability of the Gas supply, in the form of a backup or fail-safe to improve performance.

We must do anything engineering and technologically possible to ensure a reliable and sustainable quality energy supply to Ghanaians, to position Ghana in competitive advantage, to attract more multinational investment.

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