Energy Minister defends emergency power badge contract

ENERGY MINISTER1Energy and Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has defended government’s move to go in for emergency power barges, despite calls by stakeholders that other alternatives should be pursued.

The ministry in weeks ago announced that government had entered into a contract with a Turkish company, Karpower International Limited, to provide two power barges which will contribute about 450 megawatts of power to the national grid.

A number of stakeholders have criticised the move indicating it is expensive, not viable and not an immediate solution to the current power challenges. But the sector minister speaking on Citi Breakfast Show said he disagrees with the assertions.

“They run on heavy fuel. Heavy fuel is very cheap. They can run on gas if there is enough gas, but they run on heavy fuel. It is next to gas in terms of its cheapness,” he said.

He however indicated that Ghana will not have to worry about the availability of the fuel because “the negotiations we have done is that the company that is bringing the barges will be responsible for the fuel, and basically producing the electricity.”

According to the Energy Minister, “all we are doing is buying the electricity from them. All the other responsibilities will be on them to provide the electricity.”

He added that “the first barge is already ready which will give us 225 megawatts. What we are going to do is to work on the transmission and the evacuation.”

Mr. Buah said the move to go for the power barges “is highly supported by the President and cabinet.”

He also maintained that Ghana does not have any available option because Akosombo dam was running low. “If your highest level is 278 ft and you go down to the lowest level of 243 ft, you will have to do anything possible. We don’t have a choice”, he insisted.

He dismissed the assertions that Ghana could have gotten a company with an existing barge to buy power from. “I don’t know of them” he said. “I have spent almost two years on this project. The ministry has been working with almost nine agencies travelling around the world to make sure we get it.

There is a lot of talking by people but with no results,” Mr Buah said. The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum says the project is part of efforts by government to achieve the 5000 Mega Watts target by 2016.

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