Power barge lands at Tema

The Powership berth at the Tema Fishing harbour after its arrival.Photo.Godfred Blay Gibbah.The Minister of Power, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, says the arrival of the 225 megawatts Karpowership is not a panacea to the country’s energy crisis.

“There will be a lot of things to be done connecting the power barge to the national grid, and also completing some paperwork,” he said, without stating categorically when the barge will begin full operations.

Speaking at a ceremony at Tema on Saturday, to officially welcome the Karpowership into the country, Dr. Donkor, said the Karpowership alone was not enough to end the energy challenge confronting the country; the ship was only one of the several interventions to end the energy crisis.

“Let it not be thought that the Karpowership is the only solution to the challenge confronting us. We have other projects. We have the AMERI Power Project. We are working with Asogli and other associated projects to ensure that we have this problem dealt with comprehensively,” he stated.

Dr Donkor noted that the ministry and its stakeholders were working on the issue of fuelling which, according to him, was the major issue concerning the government.

“Our ultimate objective is to fire all our thermal plants with gas. This is a herculean task and it takes a bit of time. And so, I will want to tell Ghanaians to bear with us. Though it is painful and long term, we believe that it is better than rushing to take short term measures,” he advised.

He expressed the government’s commitment to work with Karpower to ensure that the power barge operated effectively.

The Chief Executive of Karadeniz Holding, the parent company of Karpowership, Orhan Remzi Karadeniz, gave the assurance that his company would deliver uninterrupted and reliable supply of power to the national grid at a very low cost.

“We have a couple of weeks of preparation and final connection which will be executed in the safest and quickest time span,” he said, and added that it was his expectation that all outstanding administrative issues would be addressed before the barge began full operation.

According to him, his company would use the lowest cost fuel available to generate power at a low cost to the government.

He advised the public, especially the media, to contact the company for any official information surrounding the project and refrain from relying on rumours and hearsays about the company.

The Karpowership, which is the short form of Karadeniz Powership Aysegul Sultan, is the first powership in the West African sub-region.

It will start operating at the Tema Harbour and is expected to be connected to the national grid in the coming days, while the second powership with the same capacity follows next year.

The power purchase agreement was signed between the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Karpowership Ghana Company to generate 450 megawatts of power for the next 10 years.

The two powerships will initially use the economic Low Sulphur Heavy Fuel (HFO) to generate electricity but will later be converted to natural gas as soon as the country has the capacity to provide it with natural gas produced locally.

Per the agreement, Karpowership will assign a dedicated shuttle vessel to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply from the offshore storage vessel to the onboard storage tanks of the powership.

The company has invested in excess of US$30 million in mobilisation, site preparation, marine infrastructure works, along with fuel supply, storage arrangement and grid interconnection.

It is the largest direct foreign investment by a Turkish company in Ghana.

President John Dramani Mahama will officially commission the barge when the connections and other paperwork are completed.

By Yaw Kyei  

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