Power generation in the country last Friday received another major boost after a successful completion of more than $360m expansion and maintenance works on the T2 plants of the Takoradi International Company (TICO).
The expansion added 110 megawatts (MW) to the plant’s production capacity, bringing the total power generated by the plant to 330 MW.
The increase in MW was attributed to the expansion, which had the addition of steam turbine and associated heat recovery steam generator to the plant to produce the additional 110MW at the same fuel cost. However, the plant is currently producing 320MW.
Dumsor end in sight
Ghana has had a long spell with energy crisis since 1983. But the current crisis which started in 2012 has seen timelines to its end reviewed a number of times.
But according to the operators of the facility, all its three units were up and running and that was a significant breakthrough in the country’s quest to put an end to its long-running epileptic power supply.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after a tour of the facility at Aboadze, the Managing Director of TICO/TAGA, Nana Osafo Kantanka Adjei, said its operations since 2000 had been producing 220MW of simple cycle power from its two gas turbines.
He explained that initially, generating at 220MW using the simple cycle was not giving them the maximum output as the heat was flared.
Performance and reliability tests
From the onset, he said, the units were commissioned to run on both gas and light crude oil (LCO), and was used for the 10-day performance and reliability tests which started from August 3, 2015 and had been good.
“By the end of September, all works including the outstanding marine works and performance and reliability test would have been completed.”
Nana Adjei explained that even though there was power flowing through all three units, “We will not relax or say the work has been completed. It is only when the remaining marine works and the performance test, which end on Thursday, that we will declare full completion of the entire expansion work.”
“I must say that at Aboadze Power Enclave with the current T1 and T2 with 660MW, TICO’s total output of 330 full capacity constitutes 50 per cent and at the national level it is about 12 and 17 per cent depending on generation at a time, which is very significant,” he said.
Reliable fuel vital
The managing director said the machines were dual fired and that after the performance and the testing process today, TICO would also switch to gas from Atuabo or Nigeria.
Asked how simple it was to switch the two, he said having gone through the selection and testing of the chosen fuel of gas and LCO, switching would not a be any difficult task.
“However, even though the facility is designed to be dual fired, it has not been the best practice to be shuffling LCO and gas — owing to fuel unavailability.”
He explained that frequent switching could have a technical impact on the system. Therefore, it was very important to have a sustainable source always.
He said all things being equal, it was expected that the TICO would have regular and one source of fuel system preferably natural gas for the units and “we are hopeful that with the flow of natural gas in-country and improved supply from Nigeria, we should also be able to run fairly on natural gas as one source”.
“But in an unlikely event of any eventuality, we are ready to switch from crude to gas,” he said.
Going forward, he said, it would be informative to say that TICO did not enter the country to operate for the short term; “TICO came to Ghana to stay, and support the country as well as the entire West African sub-region in terms of reliable electrical power supply for growth and development”.
“I must say that there are plans for TICO to expand its operational capabilities in terms of more investment, but will depend on the discussion between its partners and the government of Ghana,” he said.
He said there were plans to support in areas of production of clean coal power, more combusting turbines and generators, “but I will say these are in preliminary stages of discussions but the goal of TAQA/TICO is that we will partner government, Volta River Authority and other potential partners for reliable power supply”.
He said over the years, TICO had operated at 94 per cent capacity, which was its global standard, and what led to the challenge it faced after operating over a decade would not crop up again.
“TICO has put in place measures and we are continuously reviewing our maintenance strategies and mechanisms including some contracts in place for the maintenance schedules,” he said.