The quest for Ghana to attain energy and power sufficiency in the medium to long term received yet another boost when the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, yesterday cut the sod for work to begin on the construction of a thermal plant at Kpone to generate 350 megawatts (MW) of power.
The project by Cenpower Generation Company Limited, dubbed the Kpone Independent Power Plant (KIPP), is expected to be completed in 32 months at a cost of $900 million.
When completed, it will have the capacity to provide, at current consumption levels, power for the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and parts of the Central regions.
It is expected to increase the country’s dependable installed generation capacity by about 13 per cent and provide about 600 jobs during the peak of construction.
It can also run on light crude oil and gas and has a storage capacity of 18,000 cubic metres.
Mr Amissah-Arthur renewed the government’s commitment to develop the energy sector to guarantee jobs for Ghanaians and indicated that it was the government’s plan to make energy more accessible to the production areas of the economy, as well as households.
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He said it was on that basis that the government had set the attainment of 5,000MW of power by 2016 in the medium term, with the participation of independent power producers.
According to him, 16 power generation projects were currently at various stages of completion, all in line with the government’s target.
While urging the contractor to endeavour to complete the project on schedule, Mr Amissah-Arthur noted, “We are working very hard to increase our total installed capacity to 14 per cent.”
He charged the contractor to deliver the project on time and assured it of continued government support in whatever challenges it faced.
The Vice-President entreated the contractor to respect the traditional rights and culture of the people in the Kpone Traditional Area and appealed to it not to engage in acts that would undermine the healthy relations existing between the chiefs and the project managers.
Welcoming dignitaries to the ceremony earlier, the Chairman of Cenpower Generation Company Limited, Nana Sam Brew-Butler, who took guests through the genesis of the project, had stated that the project had an in-built cost cover for three types of fuel, for which reason the state would not be burdened with the task of importing fuel for its operations.
He said the current owners of the project had agreed to transfer it to the government of Ghana after 20 years and that the government’s policy on domestic participation and technology transfer would not be compromised.
A consortium of three South African commercial banks, led by RMD Bank, is funding the project. The others are Standard Bank and NED Bank.
Nana Brew-Butler expressed delight at what he described as the ‘African ownership’ of the project, noting that the initiators and founding shareholders were Ghanaians, with 62 per cent of its equity being held by African entities.
He added that Ghanaians held 21 per cent shares in the project and 24.5 per cent equity in the parent company, stressing, “We are assured of reasonable local participation in the construction phase at various levels.”
He expressed appreciation to the international partners of the project, notably Sumitomo of Japan, which was investing in Africa for the first time.