VRA
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In West Africa, Ghana’s main electricity generator and supplier, Volta River Authority (VRA), has set the start date of the construction of its 700MW coal power plant.The 700MW coal power plant to be located in the coastal town of Aboano in the Ekumfi district of the Central Region will form part of the first phase of the 2,000MW when the project reaches completion, report local media.

Ben Sackey, the manager of environment and social impact at VRA, said: "Based on the project timelines, we expect to start construction on April 17, 2017. But that is also dependent on getting a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We are working closely with EPA to ensure that all the stringent environmental requirements are met."

Since the project’s proposal, there have been concerns from various bodies such the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement regarding the environmental impacts of coal experienced in other parts of the world.

Green Peace International commented: “Coal burning power stations continue to speed up global warming by filling the atmosphere with vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

"Coal burning leads to acid rain and smog, and emits more than 60 different hazardous air pollutants such as a variety of toxic metals, organic compounds, acid gases, sulphur, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and particulate matter”.

VRA addresses environmental concerns

Responding to these concerns, VRA stated it has addressed these issues through the design and technology of proposed plant, which uses the latest clean-coal technology.

Sackey said: “Domestic sewage water, coal waste water and oil wastewater will be treated separately, and then reused. Only circulating cooling sea water will be drained out of the plant.

“A thermal plume dispersion modelling is being undertaken to predict the permissible size of the mixing zone and the effect on sea. Effluent levels are to be monitored as part of the project monitoring plan.”

He continued: “We will conduct reasonable overall planning for the plant area; arrange high-noise equipment far from the area which is sensitive to noise; and reduce noise level by green-belt planting – that is planting arbor and shrubs on roadsides around the main powerhouse and nearby other sound sources as required, so as to reduce noise through the noise-reduction function of plants.

“The proposed power-plant sites are far away from the nearby villages; it is predicted that the contribution value of power-plant noise to the residential areas will be low, so power plant noise won’t disturb the local residents.”