Govt initiates moves to merge VRA, Bui Power Authority

Author: Timothy Ngnenbe
Mr Fred Oware, Chief Executive Officer of the Bui Dam Authority
Mr Fred Oware, Chief Executive Officer of the Bui Dam Authority

The government has initiated moves to merge the Bui Power Authority (BPA) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) to make for a single point management of power generation in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BPA, Mr Fred Oware, who disclosed this, said a committee had been set up by the Cabinet to look into the modalities of the merger.


“There is a committee that is now studying the various position papers to be able to make inputs on the move. I am part of the committee and we will meet today to discuss key issues, so it is too early to make some more disclosures,” he said.

He did not give details of the modalities for the merger but said any concrete steps and agreements reached would be announced later by the government.

Mr Oware made this known at his maiden interaction with editors and journalists from various media organisations in Accra on Monday.

The meeting with the media was meant to provide a platform to discuss key issues relating to the mandate of the BPA and for it to brief journalists on strategies the authority had adopted to increase power generation.

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The issues

There have been calls for a merger of the two power generators into a single entity to make for efficient management of power generation in the country.

The VRA was the main generator of hydro power for the country until the BPA started operations in December 2013.

Currently, the Bui generation station has three generation units, each with the capacity of 133 megawatts (MW), and a mini plant of 4MW, totalling 400MW of power.

The commissioning of the Bui power station added about 20 per cent of installed hydro capacity to the country’s energy production.

Mr Oware said the BPA had expanded in generation capacity over the past four years.

Figures showed that the Bui plant increased generation from 616MW in 2014 to 868MW and 934 MW in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but declined to 542MW in 2017 because of a sharp decline in the rainfall pattern which affected the level of water in the dam.

Renewables

The BPA CEO said the focus of the authority for the next few years was to build and expand its operations to provide more renewable energy, especially in the solar and wind sector, in line with the Ministry of Energy’s vision to increase renewables to about 10 per cent.

He said a 250MW solar project and a 600-kilowatt wind energy facility were being installed to increase the generation of renewable energy in the country’s generation mix.

“All things being equal, we intend to use 2018 as a springboard to achieve greater heights in the energy sector, especially the renewables,” he stressed.

Mr Oware said the BPA had advanced public, private partnership (PPP) initiatives to grow the renewable energy sector, adding that a number of investors were ready for that.

BPA vibrant

Responding to the view held by a section of the public that the BPA was a white elephant, he said the figures relating to the authority’s performance pointed to the contrary.

In a presentation, the Project Manager at the BPA, Mr Kwaku Akorsa, said the Bui power project was a profitable investment because it had shown great prospects and capacity to expand and make inroads in the energy sector.

He said the authority was positioning itself to be the first hybrid generation plant for power in the country by 2018, combining hydro and solar generation.