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General News of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Source: Business Analyst

ISODEC Boss welcomes power source diversification decision

By Ebenezer Sabutey

Dr. Steve Mathew, Campaigns Coordinator and Director of Communications at the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) has hailed the government’s decision to diversify the nation’s Energy Sources since that will make power supply more reliable.
He also hailed the project to generate 1000 Mega Watts (MW) of Power from the sea waves in Ada in the Greater Accra Region since be the cheapest form of energy to the citizenry.
The 1st phase of work to produce 1, 000 Mega Watts of power from the Ada Sea Wave in the Greater Accra Region being undertaken by TC Energy Limited is complete with connections to the grid and ready to be delivered to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
This is the first of its kind in Ghana to generate power using energy from sea waves by deploying a six wave convertor units under the sea.
Commenting in an interview with the Business Analyst, Dr. Manteaw however noted that Ghana as a nation needs to have a renewable energy policy to guide the use of these sources.
“Diversifying energy is good and in the case of Ghana, both the sea wave and solar renewables are good source of mitigating our energy crises but my worry is that, we don’t have a renewable energy policy as a nation” he said.
Diversification, according to him, should be made attractive by providing an incentive regime to get investors into it to reduce the burden from the hydro and thermal which becomes a challenge to the national grid.
Specifically on the Ada sea wave project, Dr Mathew who is also Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas and co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) noted that he is not sure of the measures put in place by government to attract private investors to the use of that technology.
He however advised government not to attempt to introduce coal into the energy mix due to the environmental challenges it is associated with.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TC Energy Limited Anthony Opoku told Business Analyst that the first phase of the project being undertaken in cooperation with, Seabase Energy of Sweden has been successful.
The first phase of the project with a generation capacity of 14.400 Kilo Watts (KW) of power generation per hour per day is expected to contribute 0.4 MW of power to the national grid during the piloting period this month.
According to him, the entire 1,000MW project will be completed before the end of the year if all the necessary funding becomes available.
“We have finished the cabling system already underneath the sea, we have connected to the grid, finished with the switch gear and everything. We are only left with lowering of the technology into the connection box which is also expected this week, then power will be flowing,” he said.
After the first phase, the company will scale-UP generation to 14MW then 40 MW in the next phase which is expected to begin by next month. It will then ramp-up generation to 160 and 320 respectively until it improves further to 600 then the final 1, 000 MW by end of this year.
The wave-powered project is considered environmentally friendly and will generate power which will cost less compared to Ghana’s current power sources of hydro and thermal energy.
Mr Opoku explained that although the initial capital for the project is huge, it is quite cheap when compared to other electricity generating means.
“We do not use oil or gas but only use the waves from the sea. So once those things are already set in place, everything else is free,” he stated.
He revealed that TC Energy has signed a power purchase agreement with the ECG, with the intent of providing ECG with less expensive power, hinting that the company will be selling to ECG at 10 Cents per kilowatt.
When completed, the $15 million project is expected to provide clean energy to 19 million people in Ghana.
In May last year, (2014) TC Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with Seabased to export some of the equipment for the project from Sweden to Ghana.
Energy source diversification In the government’s program for power sustainability, the president, John Mahama at the workers day celebration indicated that the nation’s power mix will rely on a number of sources.
“We will use gas, we will continue to exploit our hydro, we will introduce coal generation and of course renewable energy.
This will give us security and reliability and allow us to avoid over-reliance on only one source of power as we did in the past” he noted.