Ghana's Backbone to Power Delivery
As the company celebrate their sixth anniversary, GRIDCo's growth is much stronger than anticipated
Writer Emily Jarvis
Project Manager Arron Rampling
The 1st August 2014 marked the sixth anniversary of the operationalisation of the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo); a great achievement for both the company and Ghana's power generation industry. Since its incorporation in December 2006 as a private limited liability company, GRIDCo's strategy has been to develop and promote competition in Ghana's wholesale power market by providing transparent, non-discriminatory and open access to the transmission grid for all the participants in the power market, in particular for the power generators and bulk consumers and thus ensuring efficient power delivery for all.
The company became operational on August 1st, 2008 following the transfer of the core staff and power transmission assets from VRA to GRIDCo. The company was established in accordance with the Energy Commission Act, 1997 (Act 541) and the Volta River Development (Amendment) Act, 2005 Act 692, which provides for the establishment and exclusive operation of the National Interconnected Transmission System by an independent Utility and the separation of the transmission functions of the Volta River Authority (VRA) from its other activities within the framework of the Power Sector Reforms.
Ghana as a Gateway to the West African Market
With Ghana's strong desire to establish itself as a gateway to the West African market, key supporting factors such as resources and power generation are required for the country to reach its goal of becoming a middle-income country. Following the successful commercialisation of its oil reserves, Ghana is in a position to raise additional public funding for infrastructure in order to address the country's needs, which puts GRIDCo in a strong position. "Continuing to exist through these times in Ghana has been a great achievement in itself, but to prosper and grow as we have done during these six years is particularly satisfying, and makes me feel extremely proud of the GRIDCo team," the CEO said in a message to its employees and customers. "It is only thanks to the teamwork we have built around a diversity of skills, backgrounds, ages and personalities, your commitment, loyalty and patience that we are still here today." The CEO equally acknowledged their fruitful partnership with the government, board, management and staff, saying he expects this collaboration to reach new heights in the future "as we continue our climb to the top of the class".
Ghana's most pressing challenge lies in the power sector, where the lack of reliable power is a major constraint to economic growth. As a result of rising remand, the government has plans to address the energy supply gap by increasing its power generation capacity to 5,000MW within the next four years. Due to their unwavering determination to be the best in Ghana's power sector, GRIDCo have worked through many challenges successfully, developing a better understanding and appreciation for the forces that drive the electricity generation industry. "We can assure all that we not only get better every year, but we are not yet the best we can be; we can always get better," says the CEO. Further, GRIDCo have their customers to thank for supporting the company over the years, recognising them as the backbone to their power delivery and services.
In 2012, GRIDCo added five substations to the grid and increased their transformer capacity in their substations from 2,200 MVA to 3,400 MVA - an increase of about 55 percent capacity. "We built and commissioned new state-of-theart real time System Control Centres and increased the power transmission capacity to Accra from Akosombo with the stringing of the 4th Circuit Transmission Line," the CEO's statement says.
Since 2008, the company have initiated 29 projects out of which 11 have been completed, 13 at different levels of completion and 5 that are to commence between now and 2015. This includes doubling transformer capacity in about 20 single transformer substations.
Over the years, GRIDCo have been decentralising their operations and have now increased their work areas from five to seven, further decentralising their maintenance and operations work to ensure they can tackle network challenges. Additionally, the company has grown their human resource base from 657 in 2008 to over 800 employees scattered around some 56 substations across Ghana. "Indeed, we will continue to pursue our projects and programmes with increasing dedication and discipline to provide the best of services to our consumers," the statement adds.
GRIDCo's Operations Grow Stronger Every Day
As the company celebrate their sixth anniversary, Dr Ansah says GRIDCo's growth is much stronger than anticipated: "The investments in our business operations have grown steadily with increasingly strong financial and operational performance flowing directly from the Corporate Strategy and Five Year Capital Investment Programme we rolled out in our first year of operations." This is all thanks to the CEO's vision to succeed in Ghana. "As I have continuously said in the past, we are where we are today because from day one, there was a vision, passion and excitement and an incredible dedication on the part of our staff to ensure that we succeeded. Throughout our operations, we have demonstrated commitment, perseverance and resilience in the pursuit of quality and excellence in our work," he proudly says in the statement.
The future for GridCo looks bright as several strategies and programmes have been launched that enable stakeholders to obtain further knowledge of the power section and plan their activities accordingly. Among these plans are the Generation Master Plan, which serves as a long-term blueprint for public and private sector investment in generation system development; and the Transmission System Master Plan that will complement the former.
These, combined with the completion and commissioning of substation projects in Ayanfuri and Buipe, and the upgrading of a number of substations, have increased the transformation capacity across the grid. "Additionally, we can see major substations coming up in Tema, Accra, Kintampo and Kumasi which we are looking to modernise the National Interconnected Transmission System; making it more robust, and providing the required system reliability and efficiency levels," the CEO comments.
The message from the CEO concludes by enforcing that: "In the ensuing years, GRIDCo will build on its strength and work to consistently create a very dynamic institution that will continuously make reliable and quality transmission of power its hallmark. Ultimately, our goal is to bring satisfaction to all electricity consumers and give personal and professional fulfilment to our staff across the country. This can only be achieved through effective collaboration with VRA and ECG in the achievement of the power sector policy objectives of the government."