The Volta River Authority (VRA) has said that all of its two units at Takoradi are running with gas supplies from the Ghana Gas Company Limited.
“I’m excited that we have gas from Ghana Gas,” the Chief Executive Officer of VRA, Mr Kirk Koffi, told the Graphic Business in Accra
“All VRA two units are running full blast with gas from Ghana Gas and the nation should be happy about it.”
He said: “We have 50 million cubic feet now. One unit ran since Monday December 1, 2014 and the second started recently and so we are fine now,” he added.
According to him, the impact of the gas would be felt positively through the reduction of VRA’s maintenance cost by about 50 per cent.
“As the machines are running on gas, they will run more efficiently and power supply can be more available and the environmental impact will also be improved,” he said.
Mr Koffi said although the running on gas would not add additional megawatts into the system, the reliability of the supply was guaranteed.
“Two units are running on gas. TICO is now doing its conversion and they are doing it to combined cycle. They have to convert, do the commission first on liquid and move to gas,”he said.
“They are aware of the gas coming and are ready for it. Hopefully by the end of the year, they will be able to take all gas available from Ghana Gas.”
Mr Koffi said that the demand for power was now growing at about 10 per cent per annum, a phenomenon which is an indication of improved economic development.
“Kpone will come on line; T4 will come on line and the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) too will come on and so we are doing more now to exceed demand,” he said.
“It takes four years to add on generation,’’he said.
Earlier before the interview, VRA signed an agreement with Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for the release of a $150 million loan facility to the Authority.
The amount, which is the first tranche of $450 million, is expected to help the VRA to convert its short-term loans on its balance sheet to medium term, thereby, freeing up additional funds to enable the Authority to embark on projects to enhance its efficiency in power generation in the country.
The remaining amount of $300 million will be disbursed by the first month of next year.
Mr Koffi said with the facility the “VRA can do its bidding better by turning its short-term liabilities into medium term and it will help us in generating more electricity for the country.”
He expressed hope that it would also help build more capacity as required and exceed the country’s demand.
The Executive Vice President of Afreximbank, Dr Okey Oramah, who signed the facility on behalf of the bank, said Africa’s demand for more energy was a testimony to the growing middle class.
As a result, he noted that power generation companies such as the VRA needed more long-term capital to expand and increase their generation capacity to meet the demand in the country.
A Director of C-ENERGY Ghana, Mr Michael N.A. Cobblah, for his part explained emphatically that the facility was not intended to swell the loan book of VRA.
He said, “this is just to replace the short-term loans with medium-term loans and that gives the VRA the opportunity to restructure its balance sheet and also to improve its power generation capacity. GB