Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Temporary Power Can Put Ghana’s Economy Back on Track

A tipping point is a critical moment in a situation, process or system beyond which a significant effect or change takes place. It is the point at which a particular idea, product or event crosses a verge and gains notable momentum. As Malcolm Gladwell, author of book The Tipping Point sums it, it is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.

For Ghana, it was 2011 – when oil began flowing, and when the country’s economic growth zoomed above 14%. In the previous years, Ghana had already been showing impressive GDP growth numbers, as reported by the International Monetary Fund, chalking up an estimated eight per cent in 2008, five per cent in 2009, and seven per cent in 2010. But, it was in 2011 that the country reached the proverbial tipping point, making it one of Africa’s leading economic success stories.

The notable economic growth resulted in a significant improvement in the lives of Ghanaians. The country saw the emergence of a new middle class, which demanded a staggering amount of energy to power its lifestyle. Unfortunately, the Ghanaians’ requirement for electricity could not be fulfilled by the available power supply. This was admitted by then Ghana’s Power Minister Kwabena Donkor, when he said in an interview that Ghana’s power supply had not caught up with the surge in power demand prompted by the country’s exponential growth.

The shortage of electricity is threatening to rein in the economic momentum that Ghana had gained in recent years. In 2015, economic reports showed that Ghana’s growth forecast was down to 3.9 per cent, in the face of higher public spending and suppressed commodity prices. The power demand in the country, however, remained high, and this fact could pose a serious hindrance to further growth.

A solution to Ghana’s power challenges 

Ghana is no stranger to bouts with power insufficiency. Yet, the current power crisis has a particularly pronounced impact because of the heightened reliance on electrical power on the part of Ghana’s modern and developing economy. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls Ghana’s power crisis “the single-most important risk” to helping Ghana put its economy back on the strong path to growth.

To avoid further economic complications of Ghana’s power crisis, the country urgently needs a power solution that can be immediately delivered, installed and operated. In the face of issues of intermittency and unreliability among Ghana’s traditional power sources, the country needs a power solution that can guarantee a continuous and reliable supply of electricity anytime and anywhere it is needed.

Multi-megawatt temporary power solutions can open doors to a definitive resolution of Ghana’s power crisis.

The installation of temporary power plants does not call for extensive site preparation nor for the refurbishment of transmission and distribution grids. As soon as the generators and other power equipment arrive on site, they can be immediately installed, commissioned and powered on within days. In a matter of days, Ghana will be supplied with a consistent and reliable electricity supply.

Ghana’s government, power utility providers, nor industries and businesses need not spend scarce financial resources on capital expenditure, which is usually the case when procuring large-scale power equipment of building permanent power facilities. The government and other industry stakeholders can conveniently pay for the rented electricity from their operating revenues. As industry activities grow and the requirement for electricity increases, they can simply choose to add more power modules to the temporary power plant, precluding the need to buy additional equipment or build other permanent facilities. By the same token, in case the power requirement decreases, the load of the temporary power plant can be proportionally adjusted.

Temporary power providers offer a full range of services, including operating and maintaining the power plants. Temporary power providers have well-trained, expert engineers that will ensure that the power plants run at the optimal level all the time.

As Ghana’s eases through its power challenges, and as soon as the requirement for supplemental electricity passes, the government or the power utilities can simply choose to end the temporary power contract. The entire temporary power plant will be demobilized, leaving no idle power equipment nor permanent power plants running on part-load and requiring constant maintenance, servicing and upgrades.

Path to strong growth

Ghana is one of Africa’s biggest success stories. The country’s economic growth in recent years has been nothing short of astounding. Modern and industrializing economies, such as that of Ghana, need an efficient and reliable supply of electricity to sustain their activities and take off. Temporary power solutions can provide Ghana with the much needed boost in power supply, making inroads into a sustainable and viable economic recovery.

Spotlight on Africa’s power sector at the AEF 2016

The development of Africa’s power sector was in focus at the 2016 Africa Energy Forum (AEF 2016), in late June in London, UK. Altaaqa Global is proud to have taken an active role in the event, which had thrown the spotlight on the latest innovations that drive the growth of Africa’s energy sector, including temporary power technologies. Altaaqa Global had the opportunity to talk to various industry stakeholders about its multi-megawatt rental power plants, and how it can help African countries gain access to reliable electricity.


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