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Construction of biggest power bulk supply point begins

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baido (left) and Mrs Frema Opare cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of the Bulk Supply Point at Pokuase as some dignitaries cheer them on
Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baido (left) and Mrs Frema Opare cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of the Bulk Supply Point at Pokuase as some dignitaries cheer them on

The sod has been cut for work to begin on the first phase of the largest power bulk supply point (BSP) at Pokuase in the Greater Accra Region.

Estimated at $33.5 million, the project, which is the first 330 kilovolts (KV) bulk supply point in Accra, will significantly improve the quality of power supply to the northern part of Accra.

Upon completion by the end of March 2021, areas such as Pokuase, Kwabenya, Legon, Nsawam and other surrounding communities will have reliable power supply.

The construction of the BSP is being funded by the United States (US) government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the $498.2 million Ghana Power Compact, popularly known as Compact Two and implemented by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA)

The ceremony was jointly performed by the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare; the Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to Ghana, Ms Stephanie Sullivan, and the Vice-President for Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Mr Anthony Welcher, at Pokuase, near Accra yesterday.

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The contractor for the project is Elecnor S.A. of Spain, with SMEC International PTY Limited as project engineers.

It is expected that the BSP will lead to a significant reduction in technical losses in the GRIDCo transmission system and the PDS power distribution to improve the financial viability of the utilities.

The project is estimated to have a total capacity of 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) comprising four 330/34.5 kilovolts (KV) and one 145 volt-amperes (VA) power transformers.

Government’s objective

In a speech delivered by Mrs Frema Osei Opare on his behalf, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the project was in line with the government’s objective of ensuring reliable power supply to industry to enhance the achievement of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.

“We all know that the world’s leading economies were developed through industrialisation and value added activities that is why we believe the availability of affordable and reliable power is crucial to the success of our industrialisation endeavours such as the One District, One Factory initiative,” he said.

When completed at the end of the 24 months construction period, President Akufo-Addo said, the BSP would ensure reduced power outages, cost-effective service delivery and reduced agrestal technical losses.

He urged MiDA, MCC and PDS to monitor the quality and pace of the construction to ensure the delivery of the facility on time.

Giant step

The Chairperson of the MiDA Board, Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baido, described the project as a giant step in the process of implementing the Ghana power compact.

She said the Pokuase BSP was one of the major infrastructural projects in the power compact.

Besides the Pokuase BSP, she said there were other infrastructural projects such as the seven primary sub-stations, replete with their interconnecting circuits and low voltage line activities to cover the Accra East and Accra West regions of the PDS operations.

The MCC Vice-President for Compact Operations, Mr Welcher, said he was happy the BSP would stabilise power distribution in a rapidly urbanising area and reduce power interruptions to thousands of residents in the beneficiary areas.

Strengthening Ghana’s power sector, he said, had enormous benefits for business and would drive Ghana’s economic growth.

The Minister of Power, Mr John Peter Amewu, urged the contractors to build and deliver the project in accordance with specification as some contractors had failed to deliver to the disappointment of the state.

History

On August 5, 2014, Ghana signed the Power Compact with the United States of America (USA) through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent United States government agency, on the sidelines of the US Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC.

The compact provides for a grant of up to US$498,200,000 to advance economic growth and reduce poverty in Ghana; and commits Ghana and the MCC to a five-year economic development programme that will fund investments in the country’s power sector.

Under the Power Compact, six projects are to be implemented to address the issue of power shortage in Ghana.

The six projects include ECG Financial and Operational Turnaround Project, Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), Financial and Operational Turnaround Project, Regulatory Strengthening and Capacity Building Project, and Access Project.

Others are Power Generation Sector Improvement Project and Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management Project.

On February 27, 2019 the operations of the Electricity Company of Ghana were taken over by Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited.

On February 15, 2019, MiDA signed a “Design-Build’ contract with Messrs Elecnor S.A of Spain after the firm was selected from among 15 bidders for the construction of the Pokuase BSP.