ACCRA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Ghana has ordered a small fleet of emergency barges with the capacity to generate up to a total of 1,000 megawatts of electricity to address a worsening power crisis, the government said on Monday.
Inadequate water levels at the West African country’s three hydro power facilities and the frequent breakdown of equipment at power plants has resulted in demand outstripping supply, Minister of Power Kwabena Donkor told a news conference.
The barges with onboard power-generation capacity will float off the capital Accra. They were ordered from General Electric and other suppliers, and are expected to begin arriving in April so all are in place by the middle of the year.
Ghana’s power crisis has led to long outages for consumers, including industrial users such as mines and manufacturing firms.
Ghana’s economy has grown rapidly in recent years based on exports of oil, cocoa and gold, though economists say power rationing has constrained development. The country has projected economic growth of 3.9 percent for 2015.
Donkor said he expected power supplies to improve significantly by the end of the year, as more projects come online. Overall, the government hopes to lift generation capacity from 2,300 megawatts now to 5,000 megawatts by 2017, by facilitating private investments in thermal power generation. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Emma Farge and David Clarke)