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Ghana nowhere near energy sufficiency – Expert

Jan. 6, 2017, 1:31 p.m.

Energy expert and Gasop Oil Chief Executive Kwadwo Poku has expressed doubt regarding comments made by exiting president John Dramani Mahama that the country is entering into an era of energy self-sufficiency.

Mr Mahama, delivering his final State of the Nation address in parliament, painted a picture of a turnaround in the power sector with respect to gas production levels.

According to him, his government has increased generation capacity and relatively stable power supply in the past year has eased the power crisis that plagued the country in recent years.

“With the expectation of more domestic gas from the TEN and Sankofa Fields, Ghana is entering into an era of energy self-sufficiency. Indeed, the warning signals have started sounding about the danger of overcapacity and excess redundancy in the power sector,” Mr Mahama said, adding: “We have agreed to work with the World Bank to rationalise the addition of new plants and ensure that we achieve optimum utilisation of existing capacity.”

But speaking to Class Business, Mr Poku believed the country was nowhere near reaching overcapacity in terms of power generation.

“As we speak now, our capacity that we need as a nation is about 2400 [megawatts]. Give and take that 2400MW will make sure it takes care of that 15 per cent we need when some of the thermal plants have to go for maintenance and some also have to go off because there might not be peaking plants. You also have your agreement with Benin and Togo to supply on the West African pool. So I don’t think we will ever get to a point where we are going to have overcapacity. We are far off from that situation,” he stated.

“If Akosombo comes up full and Akosombo is giving us 1000 and so megawatts that we need, then most likely most of the thermal plants could basically not become peaking plants, so they would be basically called on at the end of the night when maybe we need extra, but during the day when the capacity is low we might not need most of the thermal plants, that’s if Akosombo is giving us all the thousands. But I honestly don’t think that we are anywhere near getting overcapacity”.