VRA to diversify to coal

TheVolta River Authority (VRA) has reiterated the need to diversify the energy sector to inculcate the coal energy option to augment the thermal and hydro generation plants.

It said one source of energy was not enough for the country to meet its demands of 5000 megawatts and target to become a net exporter of power by 2020.

In this vein, the authority was in the process of building a coal power plant to expand the energy source to meet national demand.

According to the VRA, the increasing cost of crude oil to power thermal plants and the changing pattern of rainfall, leading to shrinking levels of water in dams to power hydro plants meant it was crucial the country ventured into other areas to support the existing sources of energy.

Mr. Theophilus Okine, the VRA’s Director of Environmental and Sustainable Development, at a media engagement in Accra yesterday, as part of activities to roll out the construction of the coal plant said Ghana’s demand energy per annum, which stood at 7 per cent, was above the demand of Sub Saharan Africa by 3 per cent.

He said the proposed 700 megawatts supercritical coal fired power plant was in the interest of the state, because the energy sector had become the driving force of the Ghanaian economy.

“We have got to a point where we should have an uninterrupted power supply because the energy sector is so key to our national development that we can’t go back to the dumsor days but to pull all the strings to have a robust energy sector and that is what this coal plant is bringing onboard,” Mr. Okine stressed.

Throwing more light on the US$1.5 billion plant, the authority’s Technical Services Manager at the Aboaze plant in the Western Region, Mr. Jacob Yawson, said the plant would be cited in the Aboano community in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region.

Jointly done by Shenzhen Energy Corporation and to be funded by the China Africa Development Fund the project which comes in two phases would commence in April 2017, and is expected to be completed in 42 months (three- and -half years), he stated.

Mr. Yawson said the plant that would cover 270 hectares of land, is estimated to use two million tonnes of coal annually.

He said it would be fed with raw materials from South Africa with support from Colombia.

He said ahead of the commencement of the project, which is subject to the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency, persons who would be affected are being engaged and that there were social and environmental mitigation factors being worked on to curb any inconvenience that may come with the construction of the plant.

Mr. Yawson called for support for the project and urged stakeholders to submit suggestions on how the environmental impact of the plant could be minimised.

By Julius Yao Petetsi        

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