The Volta River Authority (VRA) says it will install a steam turbine at its Kpone Thermal Power Plant (KTPP) to generate 100 megawatt additional power and expand installed capacity to 320MW.
The steam technology improves the efficiency of thermal plants as it arrests the heat emission from the generators and converts it to electrical energy at no extra cost of production.
According to the VRA, feasibility studies had been completed on the planned expansion, which is estimated to cost €153 million.
Speaking to journalists at Kpone on Thursday, the KTPP Plant Manager, Mr Darlington Ahuble, expressed optimism that reducing the cost of production would significantly help to lower the unit cost of power produced from the plant into the national grid.
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“When in full operation, the plant requires 800,000 litres of diesel daily to produce 220MW of power. When the expansion process is completed, the plant will produce 320MW a day with the same amount of fuel,” he said.
The journalists were conducted round the plant and the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam.
They were also briefed on the operations of the VRA regarding the two power stations, as part of a periodic engagement with the media to help them build the capacity to report authoritatively on the sector.
Mr Ahuble explained that the plant currently used hot gas produced from burning fuel to generate power, while its waste by-product was released into the atmosphere.
“When the steam add-on technology is completed, the plant will recycle the hot gas through a steaming technology to produce the additional power,” he said.
The plant manager added that the VRA was considering a public-private partnership approach to finance the expansion, adding that “some private companies have expressed interest in partnering us.”
He also said that the VRA was also holding discussions to further install 450MW extra capacity to the plant.
When asked how much power the plant was generating, the plant manager said while one of the 110MW generating units of KTPP was on standby because there was not enough power supply to the grid to meet national demand, the other had been shut down for routine maintenance.
“It will be ready soon to be on standby to fill in the gap in case of any deficit in the national grid,” Mr Ahuble explained.
The Kpone thermal power station
The dual-fuel plant (diesel and gas) began commercial operations in 2016 to serve as a medium-term solution to the power crisis the country experienced in that year.
Akosombo Hydro Plant
At the Akosombo Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Director of Hydro Generation, Mr Richard Oppong-Mensah, told journalists that the plant was operating within its minimum operational limits, with the water level at 240.38 at the time of the visit. The maximum operational water level is 278 feet.
However, he was quick to add that the water level would not affect nationwide power supply because the VRA currently generated the bulk of its power from its thermal plants.
“Power generation will be stable despite low water levels in the dams because there is an appreciable number of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the system, augmenting national power supply,” he explained.