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Ghana still imports power

Oct. 25, 2016, 10:32 a.m.

-Due to relatively cheap cost from Côte d'Ivoire

The relatively cheaper cost of electricity from Côte d'Ivoire is the reason Ghana continues to import power from that country, sources have said.

As at 5pm yesterday, figures from Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) revealed that Ghana was importing 185megawatts of power from Côte d'Ivoire while thermal power plants idle in Ghana.

According to the electricity sector players, 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.

Industry players, who do not want to be named, told The Finder that it makes sense for Ghana to import from Côte d'Ivoire at this time because that country is now relying more on electricity from hydro sources as this is they are in the rainy season and the power is relatively cheaper.

In their view, the thermal power, which is available during this season, may not be available when the rains stop in Côte d'Ivoire.

Therefore, Ghana will have to run more thermal power plants, which are currently idle, to shore up generation and that would require more crude oil imports.

Akosombo Dam water level - 252.55 feet  

The water level in Akosombo Dam as at yesterday was 252.55 feet – 25.45 feet less than the 278 feet required for the Dam to be full.

Engineers believe that buying power from Côte d'Ivoire and operating fewer turbines would make room for the water level to rise to appreciable levels before it starts dropping.

This, they say, would be useful when Côte d'Ivoire can no longer supply Ghana during the dry season.  

$30m crude import a month

Currently, Ghana is importing some 600,000 barrels of crude oil a month at the cost of about $30million to fire thermal plants.

This fuel can fire 300mw of power for 40 days as 15,000 barrels of LCO is required to operate 300mw plants a day.

Escrow account to buy crude

Sources explained to The Finder that the purchase of the crude is made possible because all electricity bills collected go into an escrow account from which the amount needed to buy crude oil is set aside before the rest is shared to power sector stakeholders.

The sources noted that the arrangement has significantly reduced the amount of money that goes to the various stakeholders.

This situation is, however, not favourable to the cash flow of the Volta River Authority (VRA) which generates mostly from hydro sources but there is being used to pay for crude to run thermal plants. 

1,483.79mw system generation

As at 5pm yesterday, system generation was 1,483.79 megawatts. 

1,870mw peak load

However, peak load which runs from between 6pm and 11pm was expected to reach 1,870mw and engineers told The Finder that one more turbine at Akosombo and Bui Dam are added during peak hours to avoid shortfall.

Export to Togo and Benin

According to them, out of the 185mw imported from Ivory Coast, 100mw is added to Ghana’s generation while the remaining goes to Togo and Benin.

79.68 mmscf  

The Ghana Gas flow rate at Aboadze as at yesterday was 79.68 Million Standard Cubic Feet of gas per day.

30 mmscf for AMERI

Out of this, 30 Million Standard Cubic Feet of gas per day is given to Africa and Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) power plant to generate 220 megawatts.

39 mmscf   for TAPCO

The remaining 39 Million Standard Cubic Feet of gas per day is given to one unit of TAPCO to generate 150mw while the second unit of TAPCO is idle due to inadequate gas.

367,426 barrels of crude at Takoradi

Dual fuel-fired Takoradi International Company (TICO) is operating on Light Crude Oil (LCO) and as at yesterday, 367,426 barrels of crude was available and would last for 27 days.

TICO on crude

This is because TICO requires 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day to generate 200 megawatts and the heat from the combine cycle plant is also used to generate another 100mw making total power generation from TICO 300mw.

184, 812 barrels of crude in Tema

Light Crude Oil stockpile is Tema is 184,812 and this is expected to last for 17 days as it is used to fire 100mw Cenit Thermal plant.

Intermittent blackouts 

Consumers are experiencing some outages because of lack of electricity generation reserve margin.