Ghana’s 1st coal power plant project begins Q2

Ghana is to build a $1.5 billion coal power plant at Ekumfi Aboano, in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region, beginning this second quarter.

The 2,000 megawatt power plant project is being undertaken by the Volta River Authority (VRA) and China’s Shenzhen Energy Corporation (SEC) with the capital outlay from the China African Development (CAD) Fund.

Apart from the power plant, another component of the project is a harbour to import the coal from South Africa and Colombia.

Scoping works and notices had been done together with the stakeholders and community engagements performed to get the support of the coastal communities including Saafa Aboano, Saafa Mpoano,  Saafa Kokodo, Otuam and Kontakore.

Youth groups and environmentalists expressed concern about safety and environmental impact of coal operations, especially carbon emissions and greenhouse effects, saying they were serious issues that needed to be tackled.

But, addressing participants at a public hearing on the proposed project, Mr. Jacob Brown Yawson, Manager of Technical Services, VRA at Aboadze, assured that the VRA and its partners had taken strict measures to check carbon emissions and other issues related to coal use.

“We have met with the EPA on the scoping reports, which is on our website, and other stakeholders and today, we have met Ekumfiman for the people to understand the project and the benefits for the communities and Ghana as a whole. We want to ensure that we have a totally closed storage operations to avoid pollution,” he said.

Mr.Yawson said that phase one of the  project would  target 700 megawatts of coal  power, while  the second phase would  hit 1,400 megawatts, moving to the 2,000 megawatts mark at  the peak.

He said a total of about two million tonnes of coal would be imported from Colombia and South Africa every year, over the 25-year lifespan of the project.

Mr.Yawson told the chiefs and people of Ekumfiman that the project had come at a time when recent GRIDCo energy assessment indicated that demand for power was growing at seven per cent per annum, and, therefore, there was the critical need to embark on the project.

He said: “We want to have a second energy system that is resilient and absorb all economic shocks and ensure energy security that is economically sound.”

Mr.Yawson said the project was geared towards sustainable development because it was important that we meet the energy requirements for future generation.

Mr.Yawson explained that there was the need to diversify the energy resources of the country, as Ghana could not afford to rely on one traditional source.

Mr. Ben Sackey, Environment Manager at VRA, Akosombo, noted apart from the 3,193 hectares of forest cover, automatic sprinkling systems and control of waste water, there was a policy on climate change to reduce carbon emissions, adding that VRA and partners were very serious with environmental standards.

The District Chief Executive for Ekumfi, Mr. Ibrahim K. Dawson, was happy the project had come to the area describing it as historic and said it would go a long way in addressing some development outcomes including job creation and the shortfalls in power generation.

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