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Power demand to go up amidst current energy crises

BY: Isaac Yeboah

GRIDCo believes demand for power will surge by close of year.The Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) is projecting a total power system demand of 2,016.5 Megawatts (MW) by the end of 2013 as against the 2012 figure of 1,738.9MW.

This projection is being made on the back of the emerging spot loads such as the Newmont New Abirem gold mining operations and the Sentuo Steel limited who would require huge power supply for their operations.

Furthermore, the ongoing network expansion works and improvements to the quality of distribution services by the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) are also expected to culminate in an increase in demand amongst domestic customers.

The wholly-owned state enterprise who owns and operates over 4,000 kilometres of transmission lines in the country is also saying the ongoing Self Help Electrification Projects are expected to add to the load growth of power demand in the country.

Undoubtedly, the expected increased demand poses a major challenge for the sector in the face of the power crises that the country had been witnessing since 2012 till now.

The total energy consumption for 2012 was 11,586.861 GWh representing 90.74 per cent of the projected demand of 12,769.70 GWh, showing a difference of 1,182.84 GWh.

The shortfall between the projected and the actual was due largely to some load management measures instituted as a result of insufficient generating capacity experienced through the year due to shortage of gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) and a number of forced outages to generating units.

This GRIDCo explained highly affected the operations of SunonAsogli power plant, which was unavoidably shutdown in late August as a result of damage to the WAGP.

Expressing concern over the adverse effect of the increased demand, the deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr John Jinapor said the energy sector requires massive investment to meet this demand.

The projection he explained was only a range and that the demand could be exceeded and thus reiterated the need for more attention and resources to be channelled into the sector adding, “energyis the engine of Ghanaian economy.”

“Once you have unsustainable power it affects productivity, industry confidence goes low and affects revenue to the state at large,”he said at the 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the GRIDCo in Accra.

Meanwhile, the Board Chairman of the company, Mr Emmanuel Appiah Korang has said that the challenges of the power sector in the past year has indicated to them the need to have good partnerships with all the key players in the sector and connect with their stakeholders in order to mutually secure their corporate successes in the power sector.

The company is thus expecting that their targeted investments will lead to a further modernisation in the transmission infrastructure.

“The expansion programmes will improve the robustness and stability of the network with good voltages for efficient service delivery in the light of the ever-increasing demand for electricity,” he explained.

Also, he is envisaging an improvement in the level of generation capacity as well as the availability of gas from the WAGP, and also a reduction in the delays with emerging generators coming on line.

By Jessica Acheampong/Graphic Business/Ghana