General Electric to deliver power ahead of schedule

American firm, General Electric (GE), has stated it is currently selecting the site to locate the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU), a floating natural gas vessel, to produce 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power to supplement the country’s power needs.

The Regional Manager of GE Ghana and West Africa, Mr Leslie Nelson, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that the first phase of the project, which is expected to add 360MW power to the national grid by September 2016, would come between four to six months ahead of schedule.

“We have finalised our partnership arrangements and we are about to select the engineering, procurement and construction company. And the partnership with the government, as well as our other partners seem to be working very well,” Mr Nelson said.

Off-grid challenge

He spoke with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra shortly after a ceremony to present a total of US$300,000 to three private Ghanaian companies which will use the money to implement innovative power interventions to benefit off-grid communities, mostly in rural areas.

The winners, which took home a cheque for US$100,000 to implement their innovations, are part of a larger Off-Grid Energy Challenge introduced by GE in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) to support US President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.

The prizes will help support off-grid energy and renewable energy solutions to meet the energy needs of rural Africa. Under the first round, US$600,000 was awarded to six winners from Kenya and Nigeria. In the second round which falls this year, a total of US$2.2 million will go to 22 winners in Ghana, Ethiopia, Liberia and Tanzania, as well as countries that started last year.

The companies are Solar Light Company, which will prototype a solar-powered mobile cellphone charging kiosks called ‘Susana’. The solution can also be worn by hawkers on their umbrellas and used to charge batteries for people for a fee or for LED lighting to work at night or for the home.

The rest are the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA), which will pilot a waste to electricity solution using biomass from oil palm and palm kernels, and New Energy, based in the north, will help the 800 inhabitants of Nabogo to use solar to treat water and light the community.

Partnerships

“We have partnered with the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Second Compact, World Bank, IFC and the African Development Bank to support our investment partners, Endeavor Energy and Eranove (formerly Finagestion),” Mr Nelson explained.

Distribution and transmission system have to be revamped and the off-taker, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has to be strengthened and the MCC would help make their operations bankable so as to evacuate the power produced under GE’s Ghana 1,000 Project.

When completed, the project which will use natural gas from the Jubilee Field, is expected to lower the costs of electricity. The four-year project will boost the country’s power generation capacity by 50 per cent from the current 2,125 MW installed capacity.

GE is offering a unique multi-fuel technology which can ‘burn anything’ – natural gas, liquid fuel, distilled and heavy fuel.

Instead of having various splinter generating systems with varying designs and technology, GE’s power park will generate the 1,000 MW over the next four years using a single mega-plant with partners, an initiative that is estimated to save 20 per cent of what would have been spent building individual generators.

Mr Nelson said GE was very proud of the calibre of talent that emerged from Ghana, saying “this further validates our belief at GE that the indigenous people on the ground have valuable insights on what works best for Africa and innovative solutions to meet the power needs of the continent.”

US Ambassador

Speaking at the event, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene Cretz, applauded GE and its partners- USADF and USAID for taking on an active role in lighting Africa and in particular Ghana, through the power Africa initiative.

The ambassador was pleased with the quality of the winning projects, which he described as “innovative home-grown solutions for the local environment.”

Mr Cretz said the “off-grid challenge, like Power Africa, represents the best of what partnerships can accomplish, when we set our focus on a common goal.”

source : Graphic Online