The Ambassador of Hungary to Ghana, András Szabó, has unveiled a $70-million worth power generation investment from Hungary for the first stage of the 400 megawatt (MW) Bridge Power Project.
The investment includes three out of five GE aero-derivative gas turbines (TM 2500) that will be used to operate the first stage of the power plant and highlights Hungary’s commitment to building a strong economic relationship with Ghana.
Bridge Power, located in the thermal power complex in Tema, will be the biggest power plant in Ghana since the Bui hydropower plant and will provide a significant portion of the country’s current reliable generating capacity with more than 400 megawatts of efficient combined cycle power.
The project will enhance Ghana’s energy security, as the plant is capable of being fueled by liquified petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas or diesel and will be responsible for importing its own fuel.
“The ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda set by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, can only be achieved by diversifying the economy towards manufacturing and agro-processing that will create reliable and stable jobs for our unemployed youth for resilient growth. These ambitious dreams of ours can only be achieved with adequate and reliable power,” Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay said at the event.
The arrival of the TM2500 gas turbines for Bridge Power marks a milestone in the budding trade and investment relationship between Ghana and Hungary.
An additional investment of multi-million dollars’ worth of equipment will come from Hungary as part of Stage 2 of the project. Hungary has further supported the project with financing through the Hungarian Export-Import Bank (HEXIM) and is committed to deepening its economic cooperation with Ghana, especially in areas of infrastructure, energy, water management, information technology, project waste management, construction, agriculture and food processing – all contributing to job creation.
“Hungary’s contribution to this flagship project is one of our first big steps in revitalising our political and economic relationship with Ghana. This is a clear demonstration to the Government and people of Ghana that Hungary means business,” Ambassador Szabó said.
The objective of the government of Hungary’s foreign policy, entitled ‘Opening to the South’, is to diversify its economic relations through closer political ties and increased commerce with emerging economies in Africa and South America – with Africa as a priority. Hungary intends to strengthen its presence in the West African region and as a first and significant milestone re-opened its Embassy in Ghana in April 2016 after a 30-year absence.
“The 400 megawatts of energy to be generated by Bridge Powers is not just about 2 million homes being lit, it is also about jobs being created and careers being launched. Hungary’s relationship with Ghana is not just about investment, it is about trade and learning opportunities. We are not just going to work with Hungary, we are going to actively work with them,” CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant noted.
Bridge Power is sponsored by the Early Power Limited (EPL) consortium, comprising Endeavor Energy; Sage and General Electric Power (GE). Stage 1 is under construction by Metka.
The billion-dollar project will include infrastructure to import, store and transport LPG. The fuel import infrastructure will be handed over to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and will be open to multiple users and significantly increase Ghana’s LPG import capability.
Endeavor Energy is the largest shareholder in Bridge Power and is leading the development together with GE.
Steve Jernigan, Managing Director of Endeavor Energy, explained that: “We expect to deliver first power by the end of this year, and we are thrilled at the prospect of significantly helping to power Ghana’s homes, schools, offices, hospitals, and industries. In the process, we will create jobs, transfer skills, and add to Ghana’s energy infrastructure.”
Mr Jernigan added that Bridge Power will soon announce major social investment initiatives geared at developing STEM skills in young people and thus better equip them for the future world of work.
GE’s TM2500 gas turbines operate independently and can be started, stopped, and then restarted within an hour.
“This will allow the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to more efficiently supply power to match actual demand throughout the day,” explained Elisee Sezan, CEO of GE’s Gas Power business in sub-Saharan Africa.
“For the Ghanaian consumer, this means extra savings,” he added.
Sage, a wholly Ghanaian-owned company, is leading the building of the LPG import and storage infrastructure for the Bridge Power plant.
“We are working at full steam to build the biggest LPG-fired power plant in the world and put Ghana on the map. Bridge will be transformational”, Sage’s Louis Josiah said.