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Source: The Finder - The Tema Thermal Power Plant (TT1), with capacity of 110 Megawatts (MW), has been shut down due to inadequate Light Crude Oil (LCO) in the Tema power enclave.

Information gathered by The Finder indicates that the limited crude oil available was being used to operate the 110-megawatt Cenit Power Plant.
This situation, coupled with limited gas from Nigeria – which is being used by Sunon Asogli Thermal Power Plant to generate some 90MW out of its 200MW capacity – and the lack of lean gas from Ghana Gas due to the shutdown of FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, has resulted in overdrafting of hydro dams to close the deficit in power generation.

On Sunday, Karpowership shut down for maintenance, which lasted for four hours.

One unit of TICO, which tripped on Saturday as a result of a fault, was not back online as of the time of filing this report Sunday.

Kpone Thermal Power Plant, which was on test run Thursday and Friday, was shut down for further commissioning checks.

Head of Policy Unit at energy policy think-tank, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr Ishmael Ackah told The Finder that government has compelled the Volta River Authority (VRA) to run all six turbines of the Akosombo Dam during peak hours in the past three weeks to avoid severe power cuts (Dumsor).

Because of the low level of water in the lake, each unit of Akosombo generates 125 megawatts, translating into 750MW during peak hours.

During off peak, Akosombo operates five turbines, which is still above the two or three turbines engineers have recommended.

He condemned the action since it is in total disregard for advice of VRA engineers, who said the dam should be operating only two turbines at current water level, which was at 237.92 feet last Friday, April 22, 2016.

The minimum operating water level for the Akosombo Dam is pegged at 240 feet, but VRA engineers advised that running two turbines at current water level of 237 feet would not cause any harm since it once operated the dam with two turbines at a water level of 235 feet.

Kpone Hydro Generating Station and Bui Hydro Dam are also said to be overdrafted during peak hours. Each unit of Bui generates 100MW, translating into 400MW during peak hours.

Overdrafting of a Hydro Dam results in faster depletion of water levels, which could force total shutdown of the dam.

Consequently, Dr Ackah called on the government to immediately stop overdrafting the hydro dams.

The overdrafting of waters of the Akosombo Dam and other hydro sources such as for power generation has been necessitated by the power challenges brought on by the shortage of gas from fields in Nigeria, as well as no gas from the Atuabo gas plant operated by the Ghana National Gas Company.

As of Thursday, April 21, 2016, peak production was 1,980MW while demand was 2,011MW.

“What it means is that we are having marginal shortfall, which is not good because looking at the fact that we have been in this load shedding for about four years, we believe by now we should be having excess capacity of about 10-25%”, he added.

According to Dr Ackah, the short-term solution is to clear arrears owed Nigeria Gas, as well as buy crude oil until the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah resumes operations.

In the long term, he recommended sustainable diversified fuel sources and commercial consumers, as well as investment in LNG facilities such as regasification plants.

ACEP suspects that the reduction in the gas was the result of the debt.

In addition, he said government must also find money to buy crude oil to fire thermal power plants.

“Government should come clear as how much we owe Nigeria and plans put in place to pay, especially since Ghanaians are paying debt recovery levy, which ACEP believes can be used to finance these debts.

“Government has taken approach outside these two recommendations which we believe is not good,” he said.


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