General Electric, others to generate 1,200 megawatts

President John Mahama welcoming the Global CEO  of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, to the Peduase Lodge

President John Mahama welcoming the Global CEO
of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, to the Peduase Lodge

GENERAL Electric (GE), the American energy giant, and its partners have successfully put together a consortium to raise the requisite 560million dollars to begin the ‘Ghana 1,000 Project’ expected to significantly address power shortfalls in the country.

The project, which is in the context of the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account, is expected to generate a total of 1,200 megawatts to feed the thermal plants.

Under phase one, which would be completed in the last quarter of 2016, a total of 750MW of power will be produced, while 500MW will be generated in 2018 under the second phase.

This came to light yesterday, when the Global Chief Executive of GE, Mr. Jeff Immelt, led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on President John Mahama at the Peduase Lodge in the Eastern Region.

Mr. Immelt is in the country to conclude negotiations for the project to take off.

The ‘Ghana 1,000 Project’, which feeds into US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, represents the single largest injection of power into the country’s transmission grid.

Launched by President Obama in Tanzania in July 2013, ‘Power Africa’ is a new five-year initiative aimed at supporting economic growth and development by increasing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power in Africa.

Welcoming the delegation, President Mahama advocated the need for the country to diversify its sources of fuel for producing its power so that it was not caught in a situation where it was dependent on a single source of power.

“For many years when the Akosombo plant was built, we thought that it will provide Ghana with power forever, and so even as our demands was growing, our attempts to put in supplementary generation was not fast enough that is why over the years, we found ourselves caught up in rolling black outs and load management.”

President Mahama said power supply had become the most binding constraint on the African continent, saying that as fast as the populations were growing, demand for power kept increasing.

Ghana, he said, had been growing above seven per cent in the last six years, pointing out that that growth came with an increasing demand for power supply but unfortunately the nation was unable to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand, hence the load management crisis.

He, said Ghana was not alone in this power quagmire, indicating that South Africa’s EXCON had announced rolling black outs in South Africa, while a neighbouring West African country  had come to solicit Ghana’s support to extent electricity to them.

“So it’s a problem that affects the whole continent and we need to look at it strategically…if Ghana can put in sufficient generation, then it will not only meet Ghana’s own demand but it will have excessive redundancy, then we can evacuate the extra power to our neighbouring countries.”

President Mahama said the government was dealing with the current load management crisis by fast-tracking emergency power supply in months to be able to increase the available amount of power.

He said Ghana was going through the pre-conditions stage for disbursement of the Millennium Challenge Compact and expressed the hope that by the time the country complete the implementation of the five-year compact, Ghana would be an efficient transmitter of power in Africa.

With a project like the GE’s Ghana 1,000, Mr. Mahama said it would enable the country to leverage American financing for the power project and other projects in the energy sector.

Mr. Immelt described the project as one of the most exciting to be undertaken by his outfit on the African continent.

He looked forward to the conclusion of negotiations with the government officials to pave the way for the project to take off in earnest.

From Samuel Nuamah,
Peduase Lodge

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