Ghana Attracts Interest for Sale of Thermal Power Plant StakesBy
Nation seeks private partners to improve power generation
Thermal plants operate below desired capacity of 80 percent
Ghana’s power generation utility attracted interest from more than 20 potential bidders to acquire stakes in the company’s thermal assets as the West African nation seeks private partners to generate electricity more efficiently.
A selection process will start once the government determined the size of the holdings that it wants to offload in the Volta River Authority’s thermal plants, which can generate a total 1,325 megawatts of electricity, Kweku Awotwi, the utility’s chairman, said in an interview in the capital, Accra. The plants are currently operating at 50 percent to 65 percent of their capacity, compared with a desired rate of 80 percent, Awotwi said.
The VRA is not contemplating a sale of stakes in its hydro plants, he said. Ghana has an average available peak generation capacity of about 2,562 megawatts, compared with daily peak demand of about 1,950 megawatts, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko said in September.
The “VRA’s management of the hydro assets is world class,” Awotwi said. “For whatever reason, we’ve not been able to replicate that standard for the thermal assets.”
The VRA’s inability to operate its thermal plants at full capacity has added to the company’s losses and accumulation of debt. The utility recorded a loss of 1.4 billion cedis ($319 million) in 2015 and had total debt of 7.6 billion cedis, according to its annual report for the period.
The International Monetary Fund, which is in the third year of an extended credit facility program with Ghana, said last month the country “should tackle energy sector inefficiencies,” especially the management of state-owned enterprises.