The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, says government and Ghanaians must tame their excitement because the history of power barge shows it is not a magic wand that will solve Ghana’s power crisis.
He was speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show day after government held a ceremony to welcome the Karadeniz, which is expected to add 225megawatts to Ghana’s energy mix.
There has been a constant media blitz on the Karpower barge with many media houses tracking the ship right from the day it left the shores of Turkey.
Dr. Amin Adam says the enthusiasm must tampered with given that in Lebanon for instance, nine out of the 11 turbines of the powership broke down a few months after the Lebanese government engaged Karadeniz, the barge-constructing company.
The contract was eventually terminated after persistent dissatisfactory performance, he said.
Citizens disgruntled with continues power outages, stage a sit-in blocking the road in Mar Mikhael area in Beirut. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
Lebanese History with Karpower
The Karadeniz Powership christened the Fatmagül Sultan, had a 205 MW installed capacity and arrived to Lebanon in February 2013.
It was hailed as “the most practical and rapid solution, both technologically and economically”.
The three-year contract was worth $390 million, whereby the cost of one power-generating ship is $65 million per year.
But the Fatmagul Sultan stationed off the Lebanese coast, stopped producing electricity on April 22, 2013.
Its Turkish owner, the Karadeniz company, maintained that reason behind the stoppage was low-quality fuel.
Company sources told Al-Akhbar website that the mistake regarding the fuel standards “is not the responsibility of the company, according to the contract agreement.
After more than a month of defaulting in power supply, Karpower demanded $8million in compensation for the downtime.
“The energy ministry is not of this understanding nor is the Turkish company. The ministry will not pay anything for the downtime period,” the Lebanese Energy Ministry reportedly replied.
The Lebanese government set up a special tribunal with judges Ramzi Nohra and Lina Hayek investigating the case.
The special tribunal produced minutes of meetings that showed Karadeniz got exactly the fuel quality they wanted and agreed to.
Therefore, the state will have to pay the full contracted amount for the downtime period.” The total owed: $8 million.
The investigating committee went to the Zouk Energy Plant, where the Fatmagul Sultan is docked, only to be refused by the company.
This angered Judge Nohra, who said, “We informed them of our arrival days ahead.”
Karideniz History in Pakistan.
In late 2010, Karkey, the Turkish sister company of Karadeniz Holding won a contract to provide a 232-megawatt capacity as part of a five-year contract worth $565 million.
The power barge arrived at the Karachi Port also carrying aid containers prepared for victims of the Pakistani flood.
It was hailed as the biggest Turkish investment in Pakistan, the ships were said to be capable of supplying 30% of the energy needs of Karachi’s population of 18 million when operated at full capacity.
The Turkish ships that had guaranteed to provide 232 megawatts of power had provided 60 megawatts of power two years into the agreement.
A Karpower company executive explained that although the fuel used for energy generation was to be supplied by the Pakistani government, the supplies were either late or inadequate hence they were incapable of producing the guaranteed amount.
In March 2012, the Supreme Court in Pakistan ruled in favor of terminating the contract signed with Karpower and other power-generating companies.
The court also asked the auditor general to investigate and take the necessary legal measures against those responsible for this issue, after it became clear that the company does not respect the signed agreement.