Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies and a leading democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Crucial to supporting Ghana’s robust economy is the country’s power sector. Ghana has a total installed capacity of more than 2,000 MW made up of hydro and thermal facilities and plans to expand the capacity through further power projects. While Ghana achieves one of the highest electrification rates in sub-Saharan Africa, the rapidly rising energy demand from the sector’s residential, commercial and industrial customers creates need for improvements in the country’s energy policy, electricity generation performance and reliability. U.S. companies interested in Ghana’s power sector should follow closely both policy and operational developments in the sector.
Ghana’s Power Supply
The state-owned Volta River Authority (VRA) manages electricity generation in Ghana and maintains the country’s generation facilities. Ghana has eight operating generation facilities, two hydroelectric and six thermal, which together compose an installed capacity of over 2,000 MW (Table 1).
The Government of Ghana plans to achieve a total installed capacity of 4,000 MW by 2017 and 5,000 MW eventually. The government also aims for universal access by 2020. Currently, Ghana has electrification rate of 67%. Hydroelectric power serves as the main source of energy for Ghana. The country’s two hydroelectric plants – owned by VRA and located in Akosombo and Kpong on the Volta River – account for 1,180 MW, or around 54%, of Ghana’s total installed capacity.
Akosombo Hydroelectric Plant, Ghana’s first large-scale power plant, is also the country’s largest electricity generation facility equipped with six turbine units. The plant has an installed capacity of 1,020 MW and accounts for around 47% of total national installed capacity. In 2010, the plant produced 59% of the country’s total electricity generation. Kpong Hydroelectric Plant, consisting of four turbine units with a combined installed capacity of 160 MW, accounted for 10% of the country’s total generation in 2010.
Ghana’s six thermal plants account for the remaining 46% of the country’s total installed capacity. Two of the thermal power plants are located in Takoradi. VRA owns and operates one of them (“T1”), which has an installed capacity of 330 MW. The other Takoradi thermal power plant (“T2”) has an installed capacity of 220 MW. VRA owns 10% of the plant, and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (“TAQA”) owns the rest. The rest of Ghana’s thermal plants are located in Tema. VRA owns three thermal plants – two Tema Thermal Power Plants and Mines Reserve Plant.
Together, the plants have an installed capacity of 256 MW. The Chinese stateowned Shenzhen Energy Group owns the fourth thermal plant located in Tema, Sunon Asogli Power Plant, which operates on gas and has an installed capacity of 200 MW.