A Model of Excellence
for Power Utilities in Africa

Profile of VRA

The Volta River Authority (VRA) was established on April 26, 1961 under the Volta River Development Act, Act 46 of the Republic of Ghana, as a body corporate with the mandate to generate, transmit and distribute electricity. In 2005, following the promulgation of a major amendment to the VRA Act in the context of the Ghana Government Power Sector Reforms, the VRA's mandate has now been largely restricted to generation of electricity. The amendment has the key function of creating the enabling environment to attract independent power producers (IPPs) onto the Ghana energy market.

Following the amendment, the transmission function has been hived off into an entity, designated Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) while the VRA's distribution agency, the Northern Electricity Department (NED), has been transformed into the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), a stand-alone, wholly-owned, subsidiary of VRA.

Power Activities
The Authority operates a total installed electricity electricity generation capacity of 1,970 MW. This is made up of two hydroelectric plants on the Volta River, with installed capacities of 1,020 MW and 160 MW at the Akosombo and Kpong Generating Stations respectively. Hydro generation currently accounts for 48 percent of the total system supply. This is complemented by a number of thermal facilities as follows: 330 MW installed capacity at Aboadze, near Takoradi; an additional 220MW installed capacity joint venture between VRA and TAQA from Abu Dhabi, expanded into a combined cycle plant to increase the capacity by 110MW was commissioned in 2015. A 132MW (T3) Megallan Plant comissioned in 2012 also at the Aboadze enclave has not been operational since February 2014 owing to turbine failure.

The VRA has also developed a number of thermal plants in Tema which includes the 110MW Tema Thermal 1 Power Plant, an 80 MW Mines Reserve Plant (MRP) both commissioned in 2008 and 50MW Tema Thermal 2 Power Plant commissioned in 2010, and an additional 220MW simple cycle plant located at Kpone, Kpone Thermal Power Station (KTPS), near Tema.

As part of the expansion programme, we are collaborating with CENIT Power in Joint Venture (JV) to convert the Tema TT1PP / TCPP plant into combined cycle. A Brazilian contractor has been engaged to undertake the project, with a Standard Chartered Bank financing arrangement and a Partial Risk Guarantee demand from the World Bank. Additionally, VRA and Globeleq have signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) for the development of a 400MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Plant at Aboadze. VRA and Beijing Fusing Xiaocheng Electronic Technology Stock Company Ltd. (BXC) also executed a JDA on August 11, 2015 for the VRA/BXC Project. BXC engaged a Consultant to undertake the technical audit of the plant and feasibility studies for the project.

Renewable Development
The VRA is committed to renewable energy development to protect the environment and public health, and also help reduce emissions that cause global climate change, while ensuring a system of diversity and security in electricity supply.

Furtherance, the Authority is working with two wind developers, Vestas and El Sewedy, to develop 150MW of wind power at 4 sites in the southern parts of the country; Anloga, Anyanui, Lekpoguno and Akplabanya. The sites were selected based on the wind resource availability. Feasibility studies and Environment and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for the identified sites are being conducted.

VRA also aims at expanding its 2.5MWp Solar PV plant at Navrongo in the Upper East Region of Ghana which was commissioned in 2012. The Authority in collaboration with the Government of Ghana is working with KfW to finance the construction of the additional 12MWp Solar PV plants in Kaleo and Lawra in the Upper West Region.

In addition, feasibility studies for the 48MW Pwalugu Multipurpose hydro dam project is progressing steadily. ESIA is being conducted by Mott MacDonald Ltd/Eviron Engineering Management Consult. The VRA, through the Northern Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (NEDCo), is the sole distributor of electricity in the Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, and parts of Ashanti and Volta Regions of Ghana. Originally, NEDCo was developed as an integral part of the larger Northern Electrification and System Reinforcement Project (NESRP) to extend the national electricity grid to northern Ghana. NEDCo has a customer population of 698,353 and a load demand of about 175MW.

The VRA's major bulk customers are the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo). Power sold to ECG and NEDCo cater mainly for domestic, industrial and commercial concerns in the southern and northern sectors of the country, respectively. Bulk sales are also made to a number of mining companies, including; AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd., Goldfields Ghana Ltd., and Golden Star Resources Group. Others are Aluworks, Akosombo Textiles Ltd., and Diamond Cement Ghana Ltd.

Links to Customers and Neighbouring Countries
The VRA reaches its customers in Ghana and neighbouring countries through GRIDCo. GRIDCo's transmission system covers the entire country, and is also connected with the national electricity grids of Cote d'lvoire, Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE); Togo, Communauté Electrique du Benin (CEB); and Burkina Faso (SONABEL). These interconnections now serve as part of the arrangement under the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP).

Sub-Regional Cooperation
The VRA is participating in the development of a power pooling mechanism to provide the West Africa sub-region with increased accessibility, availability and affordability to electricity under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The 330kV transmission line constructed by GRIDCo from Aboadze to Tema under the West Africa Power Pool Project (WAPP) was completed in December 2014. The line however has not been energized following the delay in the completion of the Momehagou (Togo) component of the project.

The VRA is also the major foundation customer of the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP), which saw the construction of a 20-inch diameter 600km long natural gas transmission pipeline from Nigeria to Ghana and associated facilities to support the energy requirements of the West Africa sub-region. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), acknowledging the VRA’s distinctive competencies in power system operations, appointed the VRA as the principal consulting agency that implemented an Emergency Power Programme (EPP) in Liberia after years of conflict. The EPP was in two phases: construction and operation. It provided 2.65MVA of power to a section of Monrovia through distribution grids in Congo Town and Kru Town and was intended to serve institutional customers such as hospitals, schools, police stations, and social and community facilities and for street lighting along the main route of the grid.

The VRA is a founding member of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA), initially termed (UPDEA). APUA aims to promote the integration and development of the African power sector through active cooperation among its members and also between its members on one hand and all international power sector organizations and donors on the other. APUA is a permanent member of the Executive Council of the African Energy Commission and a preferred partner of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Non Power Activities
VRA also administers Local Authority functions in Akosombo Township in accordance wwith Executive Instrument (EI) 42, 1989.

The VRA continues to demonstrate its social responsiveness through various programmes designed to enhance the socio-economic and physical environment of the lakeside and downstream communities. This includes the annual committment of the cedi equivalent of US$500,000 to a Resettlement Trust Fund to support development initiatives in 52 resettlement towns. In addition, VRA's Community Development Program (CDP) sets out a framework for guiding the process of support for the development of all communities impacted by the operations of the Authority.

the Authority continues to run its first and second cycle schools as well as provide the health needs of staff, their dependents and local communities within its operational areas; Akosombo, Aboadze, Akuse and Accra. VRA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Asuogyaman District Health Management Team (DHMT) to provide services to communities along the Volta Lake in the fight against Malaria, Bilharzia and other water-borne diseases. Also the VRA with the assistance of the John Hopkins University Centre for Communication has developed a strategy document for malaria control. The document sets out the framework for action by VRA in creating a malaria-free environment for its workforce, their families and the surrounding communities.

We maintain a dredging programme at the estuary of the Volta River at Ada to reduce the incidence of Bilharzia, and to restore the ecosystem in the area. Furthermore, VRA runs afforestation programmes aimed at reducing siltation of the Volta Lake through the restoration of permanent vegetative cover on the slopes bordering the Lake.

Corporate Social Responsibility
VRA undertakes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities particularly in the communities where we operate. Our CSR initiatives are aimed at contributing to the wellbeing of communities in the area of skills, education and enterprise development thereby promoting jobs, alleviating poverty and improving employability. We continue to build local capabilities to deliver local solutions, under our local content policy.

Relations with some Statutory Bodies
In pursuance of the Authority’s operations, VRA has working relations with the following statutory bodies; Energy Commission, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the Ministry of Power (MoP), which plays a supervisory role.