Ghana has taken drastic action to end the chronic black-outs that are hurting both its economic growth and the re-election chances of its president by bringing in a floating "power ship" from Turkey.
The 235MW ship, Aysegul Sultan, arrived at Tema, Ghana’s main port, on 29 November. It will begin generating once it is hooked up to the country’s grid in around two weeks.
It is a strong signal that we are on course to ending the blackouts and to restoring investor confidence in our economy– Kwabena Donkor, Ghanaian minster of power
It will halve Ghana’s chronic shortfall of about 500MW, reports Reuters, and make a big difference to its people, whose per capita energy consumption is only about 350kWh a year, compared with 5,400 in the UK and 13,000 in the US, according to the World Bank.
The ship will remain at anchor in Tema for at least 10 years, and should boost the political fortunes of the president, John Mahama, who has staked his credibility on ending 24-hour power outages by the end of December.
The ship was sent by Karpowership, a subsidiary of Istanbul-based company Karadeniz Holding, which claims to be the first company to offer floating power stations. It presently owns seven with a total generating capacity of 1.2GW.
In 2014 Karadeniz signed the "Power of Friendship" deal to supply two ships to Ghana generating a total of 450MW. According to the Turkish company, this will meet 22% of the country’s needs.
Kwabena Donkor, the Ghanaian minster of power, told Reuters: "This is only one element in our solution, but it is a very useful element. It is a strong signal that we are on course to ending the blackouts and to restoring investor confidence in our economy."
He added that other projects should deliver about 1GW to the grid, starting next year.
Photograph: The powership, Aysegul Sultan, at dock in Ghana (Karadeniz)