Volta River Authority (VRA), is an electric power utility corporation established in 1961 under the Volta River Development Act 1961 (Act 46), The Authority is a body corporate comprising a Board which is appointed by Government and consists of a Chairperson and seven other members, including the Chief Executive of the Authority, two representatives of the major consumers of the electrical power generated by the Authority, a person experienced in financial matters and two other persons. The Chairperson and other members of the Board have always been personalities of high repute, integrity and competence, selected from a wide range of relevant professional and business expertise.
The primary functions of the Authority as a power generation, transmission and distribution utility, include the generation of electric power, first by the development of the hydro-electric potential of the Volta River and the construction and operation of a transmission system for the supply of electrical energy for industrial, commercial and domestic use.
Annual Reports & Accounts
copies of the Annual Reports and Accounts are normally not circulated to the General Public, copies are available for reference in the VRA Library at the HeadOffice in Accra and in most offices of the Authority across Ghana.
Board Chairman's Annual Remarks gives you a great overview of our development and growth as a national public institution:
The existing generation system is dominated by two hydroelectric plants on the Volta River at Akosombo (912MW) and Kpong (148MW). The Authority's first hydro-electric plant at Akosombo has six(6) generating Units. Four of the Units, with a total installed capacity of 588 MW, including a 15 per cent overload capacity, were completed in 1965 and the additional two, with installed capacity of 324 MW, including a 15 per cent overload capacity, were completed in 1972. The second hydro-electric plant at Kpong, completed in 1981, added 160 MW to the installed capacity. Both plants are capable of providing long-term firm energy of approximately 4,800 GWh/year. On the long-term average, however, the potential energy available from the two plants is estimated to be 6,100 GWH/year.
In 1990, the Authority rehabilitated and re-commissioned the Tema Diesel Generating Station which has a capacity of providing supplementary generation of 30MW(installed) thereby raising the total capacity to 1,102MW.
The Authority also maintains a small number of off-grid diesel powered generating stations in Salaga, Lawra and Wa. Some of these will serve as backup to the national grid supply in the early days of the transition of grid electricity to those locations. These off-grid stations will be phased out within the next few years.
Work is currently underway to construct a 300MW thermal plant at Aboadze near Sekondi. The Takoradi Thermal Power Station is currently in partial commercial operation whilst residula construction works continue. It uses light crude oil and distillate fule oil as its primary and secondary fuels respectively. It will have the capability to utilise natural gas from the Ghanaian oil/gas fields currently being explored in the offshore Tano Fields off Western Ghana and also via the proposed West Africa Gas Pipeline Project.
The Authority's transmission system comprises over 2,000 km of 161 kV lines connecting 28 primary substations in closed-loop(s) grid system. A 161 kV double-circuit line provides an interconnection to Togo and Benin to the east. To the West, La Cote d'Ivoire is interconnected via a single-circuit 225 kV transmission line about 220 km long. In addition, there is about 100 km of 69 kV line extensions into the Volta Region from Asiekpe, a tap from the Ghana-Togo line.
Since 1987, through the implementation of the Northern Electrification and System Reinforcement Project (NESRP) and the Rural Electrification Programme VRA has extended the National Grid to most parts of Northern Ghana, namely, the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper-East and Upper-West Regions. Another 161kV line currently provides interconnection to Northern Togo via Bawku in the Upper East Region. The southern transmission network has also been reinforced with new lines from Akosombo to Kumasi, Aboadze and Takoradi to Prestea, Aboadze to Achimota..
VRA has, since January 1987, through the creation of the Northern Electricity Department (NED), taken over the additional responsibility for distributing electricity to all categories of consumers in the Northern Sector (namely Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper-East and Upper West Regions) from the Electricity Corporation of Ghana.
The principal consumers of the Authority's electrical power are the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) which operates an aluminium smelter at Tema, about 80 kilometres from Akosombo and the Electricity Corporation of Ghana (ECG), the organisation which is responsible for the distribution of power to domestic, commercial and industrial customers in southern Ghana other than those served by VRA, such as the major mining companies (namely, Ashanti Goldfields Company, Dunkwa & Prestea Mines, Consolidated Diamond, Billiton Bogosu Gold, etc.), the Northern Electricity Department (NED), the Akosombo Textile Limited (ATL), Aluworks Limited located in Tema and the VRA Townships Akosombo/Akuse.
The Authority has been supplying electrical power through the Communaute Electrique du Benin (CEB) to the neighbouring Republics of Togo and Benin since December 1972, under an international Agreement signed in August 1969.
The Ghana - la Cote d'Ivoire Electrical Networks were inter-connected in June 1983 and in pursuance of the Inter-Government Protocol for the interconnection, the Authority has been exchanging electrical power with its Ivorian counterpart, Energie Electrique de la Cote d'Ivoire (EECI) since 27th February, 1984. EECI's role as an electrical utility has now (since 1993) been taken over by Compagnie Ivorienne d'Electricite (CIE), a private consortium.
In addition to the generation and supply of hydro-electricity, the Authority is also responsible for the development of the Volta Lake, as a source of fish, means of transportation and in any other suitable manner, as well as the development of Akosombo Township. The Authority, in co-operation with other public agencies or at the request of Government, undertakes other projects relating especially to the environmental effects of the formation of the Volta Lake, research and development work appertaining to fisheries, the hydro-biology of the lake, public health, shore-line agriculture and various aspects of resettlement.
Responsibility for the maintenance of the resettlement townships built for persons displaced by the formation of the Volta Lake has, at the request of the Government, been transferred to appropriate departments and agencies of Government since 1971. Nevertheless residual problems affecting the settlers are referred to the Authority for advice and any necessary action. The Authority thus continues to show interest in matters concerning these communities. The health and well-being of the inhabitants of the Lakeside area have been made specific obligations of the Authority under the Act.
In fulfilment of these functions, the Authority has sponsored a number of ventures/subsidiary companies either on its own behalf, such as the Kpong Farms Limited and the Akosombo Hotels Limited (operators of the Volta Hotel), or on behalf of Government, such as the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited (VLTC).
Indeed, VRA also has the independent responsibility for the administration as a local authority (but with no political role) of the Akosombo Township, a function conferred by a legislative enactment. Politically, the Akosombo Township is part of the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.
Similar responsibility is exercised (not under a legislative enactment) in respect of the VRA township at Akuse and the reservoir formed in connection with the Kpong Hydro-electric Project.
Recently , the Authority sponsored, with an annual pledge of US$500,000 equivalent in local currency (Cedis), a fully funded VRA Resettlement Trust Fund to provide further assistance directly to the communities affected by the Volta River Project generally. The Trustees of the Fund are selected from the catchment area with technical assistance being provided , on an as needed basis, by the VRA and other relevant government agencies.
The Authority runs a well-equipped hospital at Akosombo and, through its Health and Safety Department, handles matters concerned with sanitation and public health. In 1990, the Authority commissioned a Medical Boat, MV Onipanua to provide basic medical services and public health education for the inhabitants of the lakeside area. These and other measures taken by the Authority ensure that the Project causes as little adverse effect on the surrounding population as possible.
The Authority being responsible for assisting in the socio-economic development of the Volta Basin has facilitated the development of the Volta Lake as a means of transportation in a suitable manner through the provision of port and landing stage infrastructure as well as maritime navigational aids. In further fulfilment of this function, the Authority has sponsored or promoted many ventures and subsidiary companies either on its own behalf, such as the Kpong Farms Limited and the Akosombo Hotels Limited, or on behalf of the Government of Ghana, the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited (VLTC).
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