The Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) says it will soon start the export of some 50 megawatts of electricity to Burkina Faso once work on the interconnection lines has been completed.
Mr Frank Okyere, the Systems Control Manager at GRIDCo, who announced this, said the supply arrangement with Burkina Faso could reach some 100 Megawatts of power by the middle of 2018.
“There is potential for the exports to go as high as 400 megawatts,” Mr Okeyere said at a stakeholders’ forum on power outlook for 2018, organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI).
The forum, which was on the theme: “Diversifying Our Generation Sources, Strengthening the Base Load Sources to Support Industrial Growth,” seeks to get a holistic picture of the power situation from the three main actors, the Volta River Authority, GRIDCo and the Electricity Company of Ghana.
Mr Okyere said GRIDCo had forecast peak demand to be at 2,523 MW for 2018 based on factors such as VALCO’s operation of two potlines, the power supply to Burkina Faso and network expansion and rural electrification programmes for Electricity Company of Ghana and the Northern Electricity Company.
He said peak demand to date is at 2229 MW vis-a-vis current total installed capacity of 4,966.5 MW.
Mr Kwaku Wiafe, Manager Volta River Authority, said installed generation capacity had increased significantly in recent years in response to the energy crisis, resulting in a reserve margin of about 95 percent by year-end 2017.
“The increased installed capacity and greater fuel diversity mean generation system is now more robust and resilient to ensure reliability in power supply in 2018,” he said.
Mr Wiafe said thermal generation had exceeded hydro as the main source of supply, adding that, the hydro-thermal ratio is expected to be 28 percent to 72 percent.
There are currently 10 Independent Power Producers in operation, making up 46 percent of the generation mix.
Mr Wiafe said the diversity of fuel for the operation of power plants had reduced over-reliance on any one source, making the system more resilient.
“Increased dependence on gas means less volatility in electricity prices as compared to when crude oil was the main fuel,” he said.
However, he said, the increasing generation from thermal and the high reserve margin could put pressure on the cost to recover the massive investment in new generation and cost of increased thermal generation at a time the general expectation was for a reduction in electricity tariffs.
In this direction, Mr Wiafe suggested a careful management of electricity pricing to avoid the perpetuation of financial difficulties of the recent past and an improved governance of the power sector to cope with the increasing number of IPPs.
Mr Kivlyn Asante, General Manager Corporate, Electricity Company of Ghana, said the company had to contend with high cases of energy theft despite prosecutions to serve as a deterrent and unrealistic tariffs, which were not cost-reflective.
He said the ECG was working to reduce its non-technical losses.