Aboadze — The 250 megawatts (MW) Ameri power plant, located at the Aboadze power enclave in the Western Region, has been handed over to government of Ghana and the Volta River Authority (VRA).
This is to pave way for the relocation of the plant to Anwomaso, near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, after government acquired the 250MW trailer-mounted power plant to boost the reliability of power supply in the middle and northern sections of the national grid, and also for export.
Already, preparatory works for the proposed site are at an advanced stage and progressing on schedule.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony at Aboadze yesterday, the Director of Thermal at VRA, Mr Edward Obeng-Kenzo, assured that the relocation of the 250mw Ameri Plant to Kumasi would enable Ghana to export additional 50MW of power to Burkina Faso, estimated at about $31milion every year.
He indicated that the Ameri units would reduce transmission system losses by 15MW, estimated at about GHC23million ($4millon yearly).
Mr Obeng-Kenzo saidGhana's power system could accommodate the full 250MW at Anwomaso in addition to the three units from the Bui hydro plantand provide the best system profile with the lowest system losses of 100MW, representing 3.08 per cent of total generation.
He recalled that Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) indicated that Ghana would need a power plant in the Ashanti Region to help improve voltages, explaining that, currently, there were low voltages in Ashanti and the Northern part because most systems were located in either the southern, eastern or western sections of Ghana.
Meanwhile, the Bui Hydro Power Plant, the only power plant in the middle belt, with transmission network of 400MW and about 20MW of solar, which is expected to be increased to 50MW, was constrained and suffered from low elevation, the thermal director stated.
Mr Obeng-Kenzo added that over the years, Bui Hydro Power Plant had been faced with 'a possible running out of water' before onset of rains in the wet season in July 2021.
The Deputy Minister of Energy, William Owireku Aidoo, noted that Ameri had effectively become a household word over several years because of the issues the plant generated in the political space.
He said the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) Agreement was signed in 2015 between the Government of Ghana and Africa and Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) for a fast-track turnkey power solution through the construction of a power plant.
This, he said, was ratified by Parliament in March 2015, originally stipulated a 60-month payment period.
The NPP government, Mr Aidoo recalled, in January 2017, observed that the required payments over the 60-month period was rather a burden on the public purse, therefore, renegotiated it to allow the state more room to honour its obligations without default.
This resulted in December 2018, an agreement between Ghana and AMERI to extend the payment period from 60 to 72 months, with the further agreement that the title of the Ameri equipment would be transferred to the Government of Ghana upon completion of the extended term, that is January 2022.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah,mentioned that the relocation of the Ameri plant to Kumasi was for a national cause, andurged Westerners to appreciate the challenges facing the power sector.
"If we don't stabilise the power system, we will continue to experience the outages. I believe VRA is making profits and I know when the plant goes to Kumasi, they will take good care of it and become profitable," he noted.