Electricity is the dominant modern energy form used in the industrial and service sectors accounting for 69% of modern energy used in the two sectors of the national economy. The generation and supply of electricity provides employment for a significant number of Ghanaian professionals. It is also an important source of foreign exchange earnings in the country as Ghana exports power to neighbouring countries, including Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso. The Ghana electricity supply industry is unbundled with separate jurisdictions and entities regarding activities of electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
Electricity generation is undertaken by the state- owned Volta River Authority (VRA), which operates the Akosombo Hydro Power Station, Kpong Hydro Power Station and the Takoradi Thermal Power Plant (TAPCO) at Aboadze. VRA is also a minority joint partner with TAQA, a private sector company which owns and operates the Takoradi International Power Company (TICO) thermal power plant also located at Aboadze. Bui Power Authority (BPA), another state-owned entity, is charged with the implementation of the Bui Hydroelectric Power Project. In addition, independent power producers have been licensed to build, own and operate power plants. The IPP projects are at various stages of development.
The National Interconnected Transmission System (NITS) for electricity is owned and operated by the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO).GRIDCO is a state-owned company. The distribution of electricity is done by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), a state-owned company, and the Northern Electricity Department (NED), a subsidiary of the Volta River Authority (VRA). The Energy Commission (EC) and the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) regulate the electricity supply industry. The Energy Commission, in addition to being responsible for technical regulations in the power sector, also advises the Minister for Energy on matters relating to energy planning and policy. The PURC on the other hand is an independent regulatory agency responsible for the economic regulation of the power sector with the mandate to approve rates for electricity sold by electricity distribution utilities.
The Ministry of Energy is responsible for formulating, monitoring and evaluating policies, programmes and projects in the energy sector. It is also the institution charged with the implementation of the National Electrification Scheme (NES) which seeks to extend the reach of electricity to all communities in the long term.
Ghana has an installed capacity of 1960MW made up of hydro and thermal facilities. Electricity demand which is currently 1400MW is growing at about 10% per annum. It is estimated that Ghana requires capacity additions of about 200MW to catch up with increasing demand in the medium to long term. The existing power plants are unable to attain full generation capacity as a result of limitations in fuel supply owing to rising fuel prices and uncertainty in rainfall and water inflows into the hydroelectric power facilities.
Ghana has an extensive transmission system which covers all the regions of the country. Transmission infrastructure has, however, deteriorated over the years, resulting in transmission bottlenecks, overloaded transformer sub stations and high system losses.
The electricity distribution infrastructure is extensive providing access to about 66% of the population. However, it is old and obsolete, leading to frequent interruptions in power supply and relatively high system losses. While national access is about 66%, access in the three northern regions is about 30%.
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