As Ghana welcomes the highly anticipated 225MW Karpower barge, a lot of Ghanaians have expressed their thoughts, pleasures and displeasures relating to its adoption and use in Ghana per our recurrent energy crisis.
Apart from the fact that power barge is not a sustainable answer to Ghana’s current energy crisis, there is need for us to know some operational history of the Karpower.
To start with, the key operational challenge of the Karpower barge has being the fuel quality. This is one of its main setback in the history of its operations in other countries.
In April 2013, the Fatmagul Sultan, the electricity-generating barge stationed off the Lebanese coast, stopped producing electricity for over a month, yet Karpower had to demand 8 million dollars of back pay from the Lebanese state for this downtime.
Interestingly, the Karadeniz Company, maintained that reason behind the stoppage was low-quality fuel. This same clause of paying for non-performance is found in Ghana’s contractual agreement with Karpower.
Since the key challenge for Karpower’s continuous operation is the quality of fuel, the question then is between Karpower and Ghana, who is responsible for the fuel standards according to the contract agreement? If Ghana is responsible for the supply of the Fuel, do we have the adequate fuel specification or standards for the Power barge not to breakdown? Again, it is imperative that such key issues are resolved timely within contractual frameworks between the Ghana and the Karadeniz Company, since this has been one of the reasons for the power barge’s breakdown in some other countries previously.
Despite the fact that the $700million USD to be spent on this Karpower could have been used to build a 450MW solar power plant which equally could have supported our peak load demands, it is still need that we have value for money for this Karpower project.
In concluding, let me re-emphasize the need for Ghana to pay attention to the mistakes others have made concerning their agreement on this power barge so Ghanaians do not suffer its ramifications.