Ghana's energy sector turns to the consulting industry once more

06 March 2018

Restructuring efforts are well underway in Ghana’s energy sector, and the Volta River Authority has launched yet another tender for consultancy services, this time to assist with optimization efforts in the Takoradi Thermal Power Plant in the town of Aboadze in Western Ghana. 

Consistent with a major gap in infrastructure funding across Africa, energy production across the continent suffers from inefficiencies and severe lack of capacity. This situation is perhaps best exemplified by the energy sector in Ghana, which currently suffers from debt of up to $2.5 billion.

The lack of revenues, and the consequent pile of debt, can be attributed to a lack of optimisation within the sector. The country’s thermal power generation units, for instance, operate at a mere 50-65% of their capacity, which is not even enough to cover the substantial maintenance costs for the plants.

In recent months, the Ghanaian government has been proactive in its efforts to rectify the issues, primarily through restructuring. Earlier this year, the government turned towards renewable energy, inviting support from the consulting industry to help with the implementation of the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP). The programme essentially involves the establishment of mini-grid and stand alone solar PVs electrification systems, which will provide energy to remote areas.

One organisation that is particularly prominent in the country’s energy sector is the Volta River Authority (VRA), a public sector power utility. The VRA controls an installed energy-generation capacity of nearly 2,500 Megawatts (MW), including 1,325 MW generated by the highly inefficient thermal units mentioned above.

Ghana's energy sector turns to the consulting industry once more

Last year, the VRA made a decision to rid itself of the inefficient plants, selling up to $2 billion worth of assets to the private sector. At the time, the VRA was assisted in the sale by leading firms from the consulting and legal spheres, including Big Four professional services firm PwC.

With the remaining thermal units, the VRA has begun optimisation efforts. Among these efforts are plans for the “rehabilitation, modernisation, and life extension” of the Takoradi Thermal Power Plant, situated in the town of Aboadze in Western Ghana. The plant first became operational in 1997, and has a capacity of nearly 600 MW, generated primarily through light crude oil.

In order to assist with the restructuring, the VRA has called upon the consulting industry yet again, inviting tenders from highly qualified consulting firms. The selected firm will be tasked with identifying the specific parts of the plant that require rehabilitation and modernisation, with the objective of achieving optimum output, sustainable for at least 20 years.

In addition, firms will advise on the most financially sound avenues to replace heavy equipment in the plant such as gas and steam turbines, as well as generators. In order to determine the above, the selected firm will also be required to conduct extensive economic analysis to present to the VRA, expected within six months of commencement.

Cameroon seeks consulting support for electricity distribution project

10 April 2019

The Government of Cameroon is on the lookout for consultants to support with the development of the Master Plan Production Transport Distribution of Electricity. The selected consultancy will be expected to conduct a study regarding the evacuation of power facilities in the country.

The result of the proposed study will be an initial design, followed by a more detailed blueprint, in addition to the final tender paperwork. The Master Plan Production Transport Distribution of Electricity is one of several developmental projects taking place across Africa to improve the region’s infrastructure scenario.

Specifically, the project looks to develop a more comprehensive network of transportation to and from power generation facilities, not only to enhance the capacity within these plants but also to expand the scope of distribution to the more remote areas of the country. The project also involves the development of two solar power plants.Cameroon seeks consulting support for electricity distribution project

This is another trend that is common across a number of African markets. Given that the latest wave of infrastructure development on the continent is coinciding with a global trend towards sustainable energy, most African countries are integrating renewable sources such as wind and solar within their energy generation systems.

Tcholiré and Kousséri are the two cities to be endowed with solar power plants, The candidates for consulting partners of the project are expected to have considerable global experience in the domains of power distribution and managing renewable energy generation projects.

Overall, the new plan is being designed to cover the gaps in the previous Electricity Sector Development Plan that was formed in 2014. The earlier plan failed to address a number of distribution issues around major generation centres, while the new plan is being designed to ensure efficient distribution.

As a result, the requirements for the new plan include detailed assessments of voltage and capacity of electricity plants, and the capacity of their associated distribution systems. The new plan is also, in similar vein, expected to have detailed guidelines on optimum transportation networks to and from the generation facilities.