Inadequate gas supply bane of power production

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu
A section of Aboadze Thermal plant

The country’s power authorities are puzzled over the inability of Nigeria to rectify the challenge that has led to the reduction in gas supply to Ghana.

The development has resulted in thermal plants in the Tema enclave either producing at reduced capacities or lying idle.

 

As of yesterday, November 4, 2015, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) was receiving 326.50 Megawatts (MW) out of the normal 330 MW from Takoradi International Company (TICO), and Asogli 183MW out of 200MW.

The Tema Thermal 2 Power Plants (TT2PP), with installed capacity of 110MW, has units one, two and three generating a mere 6.43MW, 6.21MW, and 3.82MW respectively, while units four and six are completely down.

The second TT1PP, with installed capacity of 50MW, is also now idle.

Aboadze

At the Aboadze Power Enclave, however, all the units are running. As of yesterday morning, units one, two and three were up with 100MW, 98.16MW and 49.91MW respectively as Ghana Gas was transmitting almost at full capacity of more than 108 million standard cubic feet (MMSCF).

All the three units of the Mine Reserve Plant (MRP), with installed capacity of 80MW, were down at zero megawatts, while the CENIT Plant, which was expected to add 126MW to the national grid, also recorded negative generation.

These plants, with the capacity to run on light crude oil, distillate fuel oil (DFO) and natural gas, would have added more than 350MW to the national grid if they were functional.

Information available to the Daily Graphic indicated that the gas pressure at Tema, as of 9 a.m. yesterday, was taking care of only Asogli.

Engineers said the pressure from Nigeria was not enough.

 According to the engineers, it made economic sense to allow only Asogli to run at the current bar-gauge than to allow all the units to tap into it.

Shortfall/projections

 Again, since the shortfall in the supply of gas to the country from Nigeria last month and the inability of the national generator to pay for supply and buy light crude in case of emergency, the country’s load deficit is estimated between 380MW and 400MW.

GRIDCo has indicated that available generation at peak period yesterday was estimated at 1,659MW compared to the projection of 2,050, which left the country with a deficit of about 391MW to be managed

Finances

Checks from the power sector indicated that the Volta River Authority (VRA) was not financially positioned to buy light crude or diesel or pay for the gas supply owing to the unrealistic electricity tariff and money owed it.

To make matters worse, information available indicates that generation at the Bui Hydro Power was zero megawatt as of 9 a.m. yesterday.

Crisis far from over

Experts who pleaded anonymity told the Daily Graphic that the country’s power situation was far from over, since the current challenge had nothing to do with generating units.

“I must say that the VRA’s own statistics indicate that the country’s total installed capacity at present is 2,846.5MW, and it is likely to shoot up with additional AMERI and the power ships,” one source said.

According to the source, the problem of the country was simply inadequate cheaper fuel source for the installed units,

“From what we have, Ghana should have more than 450 million standard cubic feet of gas with standby reserve margin of 25 per cent which we don’t have,” the source said