Power consumers are likely to have a respite soon with reports that the long-awaited power ship from Turkey arrives in the country tomorrow.
The power ship is expected to augment the country's current power supply and ease the energy crisis.
The reports say a ceremony to officially announce the arrival of the barges will be held at the Tema Harbour on Saturday, November 28, 2015.
Power produced by the ship, 225 megawatts (MW), is anticipated to be incorporated into the national grid in December.
In a related development, the thermal units of the Volta River Authority (VRA) at the Aboadze thermal power enclave have not been affected by the shutdown of the onshore gas processing plant at Atuabo.
A check by the Daily Graphic yesterday indicated that all the units were running, adding more than 600MW to the country’s energy mix.
All the units were launched on light crude oil last Tuesday.
As part of the preparation for the power ship, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) has almost completed transmission lines to convey energy from the power ship to the national grid.
According to GRIDCo, the ship would berth at a point in the sea close to the Tema Harbour and the transmission lines for the ship would be submerged in the sea.
The government, last year, signed an agreement with Messrs Karadenic Power Group and Karpowership of Turkey for the provision of 450MW of power to help alleviate the power crisis faced by the country.
While the first ship is expected in the country by tomorrow, the second will be in Ghana in 2016.
The date for the arrival of the power ship has been shifted many times.
The company told Ghanaian journalists who visited Turkey in April that the ship would arrive in Ghana in September 2015, but it later postponed that to October and then November.
Power ships are power generating machines moulded in the form of ships which float on the sea. They sail just like ships and produce power with heavy fuel oil but can use natural gas as an alternative.
The Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor, during a tour of the Tema thermal enclave, told journalists that the Karpowership had signed an agreement with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide the former with the heavy fuel oil on which the barges would run.
According to GRIDCo, a bank guarantee for the ship had been provided by ECOBANK.
Aside the power barges, other projects intended to come on stream from December to next year to provide more than 1,000MW of power include the Kpone thermal plant, the Africa and Middle East Resource Investment (AMERI), Cenpower and Asogli.
Karpowership is expected to give Ghana 450MW but initially it will give 225MW; Kpone will give 220MW but give 110MW in December and AMERI is also expected to produce 250MW, while the Asogli Power Plant supplies 300MW.
Dr Donkor had pledged to resign if by the end of December this year the energy crisis was not over.
But, as the situation continues to intensify, Ghanaians are in doubt as to whether he will be able to deliver on his promise to solve the crisis by the end of this year.
Energy crisis since 1983
Although Ghana has had a long spell of energy crisis since 1983, the current crisis, which started in 2012, has seen timelines to its end reviewed a number of times.
While the industrial sector has had to face 130MW load shedding, domestic users of electricity have been enduring 24-hour blackouts followed by 12 hours of electricity supply.
Meanwhile, contrary to the report that the country’s energy crisis has been aggravated due to the shutdown by the Atuabo gas processing plant in the Ellembelle District, the thermal units of the VRA at the Aboadze thermal power enclave have not been affected by the shutdown of the onshore gas processing plant at Atuabo.
A source at the VRA explained that all the units were up and running, with T1 and T2 producing 315MW and 320MW, respectively.
“The truth of the matter is that as the AMERI plants are being installed, we have to carry out pre-commissioning exercise, using the assigned fuel. Therefore, there is a plan to ensure that the tie-in is done to facilitate the process,” it said.
The source said conscious of the issues and the need to make up for the shortfall in power, the VRA made provision for enough light crude oil to last the number of days requested for the tie-in.
It explained that as indicated by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the VRA, Mr Kirk Koffi, Ghana Gas was only helping the VRA to tie-in the AMERI plant.
The shutdown was necessitated by the high attention paid to issues of safety and protection of the integrity of the facilities within the short period.
It confirmed that the tie-in process was expected to be completed by the weekend.
Ghana Gas explains
In another development, the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) has confirmed that as a result of works currently taking place at the Aboadze power enclave to tie-in the AMERI plant to the VRA facilities, it ceased the processing and supply of gas to the Aboadze thermal plant on November 23, 2015.
“This is to protect the integrity of the ongoing works and the facilities of both the VRA and Ghana Gas and also ensure the safety of VRA and Ghana Gas engineers working on the project.
“Ghana Gas, as part of its collaborative effort with the VRA and to expedite the tie-in works, supplied all the piping, valves and fittings for the works at Aboadze. In addition, Ghana Gas and VRA engineers are jointly working around the clock to complete the works on time,” it said.
A press release signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Gas, Dr George Sipah-Adjah Yankey, said it was expected that when the tie-in works were completed, the AMERI plant would generate about 250MW of power, saying, “This will bring the total production of power generated at the Aboadze plant to about 850MW.”
“Ghana Gas has confidence in the effort of the Ministry of Power and the government to end the current power challenges and is committed to continuing with its close collaborations with VRA and other relevant agencies to realise this goal,” it said.
It said it was true that works currently taking place at VRA Aboadze had resulted in the planned shutdown.
Ghana's installed generation sources are VRA hydro, 47 per cent; VRA thermal, 36 per cent; VRA solar, 0.1 per cent; public-private thermal, 12 per cent, and Bui hydro, five per cent.