Source: B&FT - The nation has in the last fifteen years wasted close to half a billion dollars on three thermal power projects that have delivered no power whatever, at a time when between 500 and 600megawatts of power are being shed, Kwaku Awotwi, former VRA boss, has said.
The three projects involving the 132megawatt T3, the 125megawatt Osagyefo Barge -- and the 126megawatt diesel engines which have been described by critics as ‘toys’ -- should have injected at least 300megwatts into the grid, he said at the 20th edition of the Ghana Journalists Association awards over the weekend.
The T3 project, conceived during the 2006/7 power crisis, was completed in 2013 after US$250 million was spent on it -- and currently produces no power.
The 126megawatt diesel engines, also conceived during the 2006/7 crisis, cost the nation US$120million.
The Osagyefo Barge, which was brought into the country in 2000, was constructed at the cost of US$120million and has, as Mr. Awotwi put it, since been “cannibalised for parts and litigated in the courts of Europe, with Ghana being forced to pay the expenses incurred by the private investor we had awarded it to, and is yet to produce its first megawatt of power fifteen years later”.
He added: “I do not know what you think, but I would call that a waste”.
Meanwhile, in a desperate search for a solution to the protracted power crisis, government has signed a number of contracts with various private power generators; and here again, Mr. Awotwi warns, the wastage witnessed with the three projects could be repeated.
“If we are fortunate enough that these projects actually end up producing power, when will that be; five months from now or five years from now? And at costs so exorbitant that they make sense only to those who conceived them in the first place.”
Mr. Awotwi mentioned years of under-investment, poor regulation, poorly performing state institutions, and failure of executive leadership as reasons behind the country’s protracted power crisis.
After the Akosombo Dam, which continues to put the nation head and shoulders above its neighbours, the country has been fortunate when it built a power plant and it operated for more than twelve months without issues.
On tariffs, the former VRA boss said the nation should not expect power generators to remain on their feet when they are given tariffs that do not even cover their cost of operations.
He further urged Ghanaians to quit being emotional about the involvement of private hands in management of the ECG, citing the example of the then state-owned P&T which provided telephone lines to only 300,000 Ghanaians as against today’s proliferation of telephony subscriptions on the back of privatisation.
“Our children and grandchildren will not be amused or grateful if they understand -- and they will understand -- that there are far better ways, demonstrated in other parts of the world, of providing more efficient electricity service to people than jealously guarding inefficiently run state operations in the fold of government in the so-called name of the people.”
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