The Bui Power Authority (BPA), responsible for the management of the 400 megawatts Bui Hydro-electric power Dam, has prioritised renewable energy to add to the Dam’s generating capacity.
This is also to help reduce its over-dependency on the Black Volta to determine power generation.
The Bui Hydro-electric project was initiated in 2007 by the Government on the Black Volta in the Banda District of the Bono Region. It was completed and inaugurated in 2013.
Currently known as the Bui Generating Station (BGS), the Dam had a capacity to generate 400MW of hydro power, evacuating the same from a 161KV switchyard via transmission lines.
Bui Solar Farm Project
In December 2020, the BPA inaugurated its first 5MW floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the Dam’s reservoir to shore up the country’s energy mix.
Already, the Authority has completed expansion works on the Bui Switchyard to enhance capacity to evacuate 250MW of solar energy to add on to the Dam’s production volume.
The 5MW pilot PV array is the first section of a floating PV project with a total capacity of 250MW, to be implemented in blocks of 50MW.
The creation of the Bui Solar Farm was engineered by Mr Fred Oware, the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BPA. In total, the BPA developed 23 Business Modules with operational requirements and approaches and 815 eligible Project Affected Persons (PAPs), persons who were directly or indirectly affected by the project, have been grouped into cooperatives to operate within set requirements.
The Business Modules include Aquaponics fishing (raised fishponds), sanitation and refuse collection, fumigation, weeding and fire-fighting, as well as landscaping and lawn maintenance.
Others are cleaning services, employable skill training, warehouse maintenance, fishing and fish mongering, local distillery, artisans and agricultural mechanisation.
So far, 409 out of the 815 PAPs have been established to operate their independent businesses and 75 of them have been offered contracts by the BPA to work with the General Services Department of the Bui Generating Station.
They offer cleaning, fumigation, lawn maintenance, warehouse maintenance, weeding, landscaping and fire-fighting services.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA), during a visit to the Dam’s site, noticed that work on the solar farm, covering about 1,000 acre farmlands, was progressing steadily.
The floating PV solar on the Black Volta easily catches the attention of visitors and indeed remains an interesting spectacle to behold.
According to Mr Oware, the solar farm remained an utmost priority, hence the need for the BPA to initiate the renewable energy project to add more power.
As he retires from the BPA after attaining 60 years this year, Mr Oware said he was hopeful that the Authority would expand the solar project.
Mr Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, the newly-appointed CEO of the BPA, described the solar farm as a huge investment and a great legacy of his predecessor and promised to build on it.
Describing it as a key national asset he gave the assurance that his administration would continue to put in place more pragmatic measures to protect the Dam and build on its power generating capacity to augment national electricity supply.
Eleven years ago, the BPA resettled 1,216 fisher folks, who lived on the shoulders of the Dam.
Seven villages including the Bui Camp, residence for Game and Wildlife personnel that supervise the Bui National Park, were affected.
This was due to the inundation of about 444 km2 of land by the Dam’s reservoir at its full supply level.
The GNA also sighted communal facilities such as schools, community centres, boreholes as well as playing grounds, clinic and health centre at the resettlement towns at Bongase and Jama.
Access roads and drainage systems had been completed while sanitation has also improved as residents now used biofill digester toilets. Digital satellite dishes had been installed to give residents access to various television channels.
The construction of the Bui Dam created a reservoir, which is now the source of the economic boom in the environs of the Dam.
The creation of the Bui reservoir has heightened economic activities with more than 7000 traders involved.
With the current fishing boom being experienced at the Bui area, the economic activities transcends only fisher folks because new business opportunities have emerged.
These are transportation and banking services, food and drinks vending, and service by artisans, among other activities.
The fishmongers told the GNA that their business activities were flourishing but a persistent challenge was the regular shortage of premix fuel, which impacted negatively on their businesses.
The Chief of Jama, Nana Kojo Pambo II, commended the BPA for its numerous poverty alleviation strategies, which had greatly enhanced the livelihoods of the people.