World Bulletin / News Desk
Ghanaian government officials have welcomed a Turkish power ship which is expected to generate some 225 megawatts of electricity to augment the country’s energy needs.
At a welcoming ceremony broadcast live on state television Sunday, government officials expressed confidence the arrival of the ship will contribute immensely to addressing the country’s debilitating power-supply problems.
“Those who felt it would never arrive will take consolidation in the fact that when government says it will deliver, it delivers," Ghana’s energy minister, Kwabena Donkor, said at the ceremony.
The West African state is currently going through a severe load shedding which is having a toll on industries and businesses.
Christened “dumsor” in local parlance, the power crisis is seen as the biggest test of the John Mahama government ahead of an election in 2016.
It is not clear when the power barge will begin contributing to the national electricity grid but engineers of the Ghana Grid Company say the final connection will be made in the course of the week.
Constructed by Karadeniz Energy Group, the energy wing of the Turkey-based Karadeniz Holding, the power ship will join other independent power producers in augmenting state power companies in generating power to satisfy Ghana’s energy needs.
“We will be delivering uninterrupted, reliable supply of low cost power to the Ghanaian grid very quickly in the coming weeks," chief executive of Karpowership, Orhan Remzi Karadeniz, announced at the ceremony on Sunday.
He said the power ship will “be one of the lowest-cost power generators in the grid."
Karadeniz added that the company has arranged for an independent fuel supply which will secure a continuous generation of power.
Aysegul Sultan, the power ship which docked at the port city of Tema on Saturday, is one of two power ships to be delivered by the Turkish company under a 10-year agreement signed with the Electricity Company of Ghana.
The second barge is expected before the 2016 general elections in Ghana by which time the government hopes to end the load shedding exercise. Together, the two ships will contribute 450 megawatts of power at the cost of 1.2 billion dollars.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission has said the deal is cheaper because Ghanaians will pay 14 cents per Kilowatts Hour for the power instead of the current 22 Cents being paid for power supply to consumers.
Commission spokesperson, Nana Yaa Jantuah said the barge “will help reduce the load shedding drastically."
The ceremony was attended by traditional rulers, politicians and dozens of ordinary Ghanaians off the shores of the industrial city of Tema where the ship berths for the next 10 years.
The Ghanaian President John Mahama will do another commissioning of the barge after engineers finally connects it to the national electricity grid.