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Power challenges to threaten ‘one district, one factory’ concept

April 7, 2017, 10:18 a.m.

The Chief Executive Officer of Koans Building Solutions, Mr Kofi Anokye, has cautioned the government to ensure cheaper, sustainable and reliable power supply to areas where its ‘one district, one factory’ will be established.

He said although the government might decide to put up mini hydro dams across the country or look at the option of putting up nuclear power, those were long-term measures, hence the need to look at short-term ways to actualise the concept.

At a press conference to educate the media on a cheaper way of running the Akosombo Dam on April 3, Mr Anokye said, unfortunately, the current government inherited a huge task, the power challenge, which was far-reaching than that of the ‘one district, one factory’.

“Of course you may decide to go for the long term. I strongly believe that the ‘one district, one factory’ concept is achievable if and only if a cheaper source of electricity is available. Otherwise, it will remain a dream or mirage no matter how conducive the macroeconomic environment may be under your administration.

“The simple reason is that the cost of the electricity to power those machines are and will be too high,” he said.

The press conference was also to pressurise the government to look at this concept as a means to providing affordable electricity for Ghanaians.

New concept

Mr Anokye said going forward, the country could also look at other forms of renewable energies which were quite convenient for domestic usage.

In line with this, he has suggested to the government to get the Akosombo Dam running at full capacity by installing electric pumps and pipes to pump water from downstream of the dam to upstream to run the idle turbines at all times so we can get a cheaper source of energy at all times no matter the season we find ourselves in.

“I believe that when the Akosombo Dam begins to operate at its full capacity which is possible given this technology, this all-important vision of one district, one factory will become a bonus as we the entrepreneurs are ready to work with the government to achieve that goal,” he said.

He said research conducted on the dam revealed that each turbine was capable of generating 170 Megawatts (MW) of power when in operation.

In view of the possible shortage of water upstream, however, the operators are forced to shut down some turbines in order that they do not run out of water.

“My concept, therefore, seeks to ensure that water is always available behind the dam so that we don’t shut any of them down for this reason. It seeks to renew the lost kinetic energy which turns the turbines on to generate electric power,” he explained.

According to him, further research revealed that a maximum of only about 10 to 15 per cent of the power generated would be used to power the electric pumps, leaving the rest for supply. This variation is dependent on the pump brand and the distance of the pumping station from the Akosombo Dam.

The estimated cost of this project per turbine is between US$35million and US$50million depending on which water source the country decides to draw from.

“Each turbine gives us US$170 Megawatts. Ameri alone cost us US$500 for 220 MW minutes fuel cost. The fact is that power barges rarely operate at full capacity. In view of this, Ameri will be producing at a maximum of around 190 MW or even less. This initiative comes with no extra fuel cost,” he said.

It is estimated that the project will take between eight months and one year to be completed.

An energy consultant, Mr Dennis Chattaway, said this technology had been replicated in other countries and there was, therefore, the need for Ghana to embrace it to decrease the cost of energy.