Options for keeping the lights on in Ghana

The thunk-thunk-thunk of generators is a common background noise in cities and villages where electrical power supplies are erratic. In Ghana, the government is investing in power generation capacity. But is it investing its money in the right technology?

For a paper in Scientific African published in March 2019, four scientists from the country tested 11 power plant designs currently being considered or built in Ghana to see which best suit the country’s needs. They were analyzed in terms of fuel type, cost, and carbon dioxide emissions.

None of the options used renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar power) as these technologies are yet to be integrated into power generation in Ghana, lead author Nana Asiedu from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi told Scientific African Magazine.

Three plant designs were found to be suitable: the SGT-400 gas/oil design is best for peak production, the Orenda OGT25000 gas/oil design for mid-load generation, while the ‘coal supercritical technology’ option should be used to supply baseload power. Other designs were found to be uneconomical.

Unfortunately, Asiedu said he has yet to present the findings to the people in charge of power plant procurement in his country.

Asiedu, N. et al. Energy economics and optimal generation mix of selected power plants technologies in Ghana!