NORWEGIAN Firm To Build Power Plant At Aboadze

Jacobsen PixPower generator Jacobsen Jelco Ghana Limited, says it plans to construct a 360 megawatt (mw) combined cycle power plant at Aboadze near Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region, to augment the production and transmission of power in the country.

The project is expected to commence fully next year, after all documentation on the proposed land had been completed. It is located close to the Aboadze Thermal Plant in the Shama District of the Western Region.

As part of the execution of the project, the company had applied for an environmental permit from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] with a draft of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment[ESIA] in fulfillment of the requirement stipulated by the EPA Act 1994, Act 490 and the Environmental Assessment Regulations1999, LI 1652.

Presently,the EPA has reviewed the ESIA and in view of its far-reaching environmental and public concerns, a public hearing was held here on Tuesday for the concerns of the project affected communities and all other interested stakeholders to be taken on board to enrich the decision-making process.

Additionally, the purpose of the meeting was to provide a platform for the proponents to make a presentation on the project for all to have a deep insight into it so as to be able to make relevant inputs as to how the envisaged environmental, social and health issues could be addressed, to reduce and, if possible, avoid conflicts, ensure transparency and confidence in the EIA process and promote acceptability.

The consultation is expected to continue even during the operation phases by the company which is a subsidiary of Jacobsen Elektro, a Norwegian electro-technical company that builds, operates and transmits power in some parts of Africa, Asia and Eurupe.

The Director of Project Development at Jacobsen Elektro, Lars Due, told the meeting that the company had been operating in Africa for the past 10 years and had experience in environmental protection and sustainable development, indicating that Jacobsen was in Ghana for a long-term investment in the area of power transmission.

He explained that the 360 mw gas turbine generator, when completed, would mainly rely on natural gas but would be complemented with light crude oil.

On the issue of land acquisition and documentation, Mr. Due said, all the necessary processes were being followed at the governmental and other levels, adding that 35 farmers affected by the project had been compensated.

Commenting on the issue of protecting river bodies, the Project Director assured that the company would not do anything to endanger the ecosystem in the area, adding that Jacobsen would rely on local expertise to create jobs for the communities.

The Environmental Specialist at Jacobsen, Staffan Asplund, said the project would boost the local economy, create a mass of artisans and also enhance power production in the Western Region and the country, generally.

He said even though there would be dust pollution, oil spillage, creation of waste and the emission of smoke during the construction phase, “the engineers would mitigate the effect of the dust pollution by watering the affected area and also use technology that would reduce the noise at the site”.

In his submission, the District Chief Executive for Shama, Enoch Kojo Appiah, advised Jacobsen to consider security as one critical area they should focus on and assist in the construction of a police station as part of their corporate social responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the Aboadze community.

The Member of Parliament for Shama, Kwamina Essilfie, told the company to ensure that River Anankware, which is in the catchment area, was protected to save it from extinction and also avoid flooding in the area.

The Chief of Aboadze, Nana Kobina Attom, urged the EPA to be proactive in averting the occurrence of spillage and pollution in the area during the execution of the gas pipeline project.

The Chairman of the meeting, Dr. Kwabena Barima Antwi, Head of Department at the Geography and Regional Planning Department at the University of Cape Coast, assured that the experts would ensure that the right things were done to ensure safety and peace in the area. - Clement AdzeiBoye, Aboadze

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