President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday, cut sod for the construction of a total of 17 megawatt solar power project at Kaleo in the Nadowli Kaleo District and Lawra in the Lawra municipality respectively, in the Upper West Region.
The 22.8 million Euro project would see the construction of a 13MW power plant at Kaleo on a 20.4 hectare land and four MW plant at Lawra on a 6.13 hectares of land.
They will be made up of fully equipped control buildings, medium switchgear and transmission lines for evacuation of power as well as PV panels, inverters and transformers.
When completed in June and December respectively, the Kaleo plant would be connected to a 161kV transmission system at the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) substation at Wa while the Lawra one would be connected to a 34.5kV distribution network at Lawra.
According to the President, the 22.8 million Euro project which is being funded by the German Government is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 7,400 each year, making the country a cleaner place to live and also add 85 per cent more renewable energy generation to the Volta River Authority (VRA).
“When completed, both projects would generate enough energy to power some 32,000 households and increase geographic spread of power generation in Ghana. It will also become the first grid connected solar plant in the Upper West Region and would contribute to the development of the region,” he stated.
He expressed hope that the plant would reduce energy being transmitted from the hydro and thermal plants in the south to the north which was saddled with a lot of challenges as well as reduce the pressure on the national grid.
Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that the project would provide jobs for the youth as he had received assurance from the Volta River Authority that it would be operated by Ghanaians living in the area.
He therefore used the opportunity to encourage the youth to seek further training and education that would equip them with the requisite skills to take up the responsibility of operating the plant, adding that students from universities would be made to collaborate with the VRA in order to suggest ideas that would contribute to the sustainability of the project.
“I hope to be here in my second term to cut sod for the commencement of the second phase of the project which would double the efficiency of the plant,” the President added.
The Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu said that the project was as a result of the culmination of many feasibility studies of environmental and impact assessments leading to the realisation of the project.
“The project is a perfect complement to the Akosombo Dam. This is because during the day, the solar plant would be used to generate power, thereby allowing space for the dam to refill so that it can be used at night when we cannot call on the solar,” he said.
This, according to Mr Amewu would help conserve energy and enable the dam to store water during the day and also reduce power transmitted from the south to the north with its accompanying losses due to the long distance in transmitting power from the north to the south.
“To ensure active participation of Ghanaians, the ministry developed local content for the power sector. These projects would require both skilled and unskilled labour. The contractor has therefore been charged to adhere strictly to the provisions in the national law by engaging more local people,” he stated.
The Member of Parliament for the NKDA, Mr Alban Sumani Bagbin who graced the occasion commended the President for ensuring continuity for the project whose proceedings started in 2012 by the previous administration.
He voted his support for the government in the project and said “I am solidly behind the government and any other government that is committed to developing the people of Ghana but I will ensure that residents whose properties have been affected receive their due compensation”.
The programme saw the presence of the German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Thomas BareiB, representatives from the contracting firm to undertake the project, Elecnor S. A from Spain, other ministers of state as well as municipal and district chief executives in the region.
Earlier in the day, the President who was on a day’s working visit to the region paid a courtesy call on the overlord of the Waala Traditional Area, Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo and assured the council of his commitment to the development of the area.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA