General Electric (GE), a global digital construction company, says it is determined to be part of the solution to Ghana’s power sector challenges. According to officials of the company, access to power continues to be a major bottleneck to development in Africa; hence, the decision of GE to partner state owned enterprises to generate power for development.
Power access has been identified as a major developmental challenge facing many countries within sub-Saharan Africa, due to the huge financing requirements.
But the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GE Ghana, Mr Leslie Nelson, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that its newest 400 megawatts Bridge Power project being built in Tema formed part of the company’s strategic move to create a global theme on alternative power solutions for countries within the region.
The rapid growth of independent power projects (IPPs) has become a convergent point for many private investment in the African power sector, and GE has over the past 10 years become a major player in Ghana’s power sector.
The combined cycle project, being developed in two stages by the Early Power Limited (EPL) consortium under a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), could be powered using dual fuel of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), natural gas and diesel.
Mr Nelson said the project would address the long-term energy requirements of Ghana by providing over 17 per cent of the country’s reliable generating capacity.
The idea of a fuel storage infrastructure was to ensure fuel adequacy in order to guarantee there would be no interruptions in the company’s operation should there be a debt default to any third party fuel providers.
“We will want the plant to be able to operate independently without the need to interrupt power supply to ECG, which is our major off-taker”, Mr Nelson said.
Bridge Power is being developed by the Early Power Limited consortium, made up of Endeavor Energy, a leading independent power development and generation company focused on Africa; Sage, a leading independent Ghanaian trading firm, and GE.
GE and Metka, the CEO said, had secured a vendor financing of about $250 million to enable the fast track of the commercial operation date of the project.
General Electric, which presently has its operations covering power, water, oil and gas, aviation, healthcare and transportation sectors, would through the PCOA allow the Ghanaian government to buy the plant and its associated infrastructure in the unlikely event of an early termination of the PPA with the ECG.
Mr Nelson said the company was working with its partners to drive sustainable development by investing in technology and the power sectors as long term solutions towards solving localised developmental challenges.
“This is a high efficiency project, in line with a longer term PPA, which is to eliminate the stop-gap measures that are often adopted to alleviate the challenges facing the public,” he said.
The location of the facility to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), he said, would see the GE and its partners construct a 12-inch discharge pipeline to upgrade TOR’s existing six-inch discharge line to the Tema Oil Jetty which received oil and gas imports into the country.
The pipeline upgrade, he said, would allow Ghana to import three times more tonnes of LPG per year than it presently did to make the country’s energy needs more diversified and secure.
“The ownership of the line would be transferred to TOR at no charge after completion of construction”, he said.
Mr Nelson expressed the hope that the project would go a long way to address the country’s power cut challenges which were often aggravated by the cut in gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) due to debt obligations.