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VRA looks to digitisation, electric vehicles for future growth

The Volta River Authority (VRA) says the ever-changing landscape requires it to be digitally efficient and diversified to stay competitive

The Volta River Authority (VRA) is seeking to use digitisation to drive the next chapter of its growth, and also wants to be the leader in the country’s electric vehicles space.

The state-owned power generator and supplier of electricity will mark its 60th anniversary in April next year, and believes that the ever-changing landscape requires it to be digitally efficient and diversified to stay competitive.

Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, chief executive officer at VRA, said at the 60th-anniversary launch in Accra themed “Celebrating 60 years in the power business: Our legacy, our future.”

He said, “We recognise that digitisation will compel us to drive down our costs and therefore remain competitive. So, we will fully embrace it.”

Antwi Darkwa added: “We also see a future in the electric vehicles space; we intend to be the leader in that space in Ghana. We will therefore collaborate with GridCo on continuing the development of a smart grid in Ghana to serve as the backbone of this digitisation effort.”

Diversification of operations

The Volta River Authority is looking to vary its operations and generation sources and sees clean, cost-efficient, diversified sources of energy like solar, wind and biomass as the future in the energy space.

Antwi Darkwa said all these diversification and expansion efforts are to be achieved through technology, adding: “Digitisation will facilitate the integration of these variable sources of power generation for effective operations. More importantly, technology will enable us to better monitor and maintain our generation assets.”

It also plans to convert the Akosombo township into a smart city – and by so doing make it the technology hub of the country; as well as harnessing the full potential of the 60MW Pwalugu Multi-purpose dam, which comes with an additional 50MW solar component.

He said the construction of the 17MW Kaleo/Lawra solar plants in the Upper West Region and similar ones at Ada in the Greater Accra Region and Anloga in the Volta Region, among others, are also being pursued to support future growth and expansion of the VRA.

Ultimately, he said, it is the Authority’s goal to move beyond aid from the government and become financially sufficient.

He said this will be actualised through prudent management in line with its financial recovery plan introduced in 2017.

“While we are focused on our long-term plans, we also recognise that we are duty-bound to ensure there is adequate, competitively-priced electricity to support industrial and social development today,” he said.

Epitome of good management

For his part, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister described the VRA as the epitome of good management of a state institution.

“I am impressed with your culture of excellence in engineering practice, which should be an example for other institutions,” he said.

He also gave his full backing to efforts to diversify VRA’s operations and expansion into the renewable energy portfolio, saying: “These projects [renewable energy projects], I am told, will significantly reduce Ghana’s carbon footprint and further fulfil our national obligations under the Paris Accord”.

60th anniversary

The launch marks a beginning of activities commemorating 60 years of the power generation company’s establishment. The celebrations will be climaxed 26 April next year, the exact day when the VRA was established.

A number of activities – including donations to health facilities within VRA’s catchment areas, free medical screening, support for brilliant but needy students, among others – have been lined up from now to next April.

“Today’s launch of our 60th anniversary means our Diamond Jubilee, which will fall on 26 April 2021, is gathering momentum; and we are all looking forward to playing our respective roles to make the event a great success,” Kweku Andoh Awotwi, board chairman, VRA said.

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