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Power ships for Ghana

Turkish power-ship maker Karadeniz Holding is to provide two electricity-generating vessels to Ghana in a 10 year supply deal. Karadeniz builds what are effectively floating power stations which plug into electricity grids after berthing. They run on fuel oil but can use natural gas as an alternative.

The Ghana investment is Karadeniz Holding’s first in Africa. It already produces electricity for Iraq and Lebanon, through part of its fleet of seven power ships with a combined capacity of 1,100 MW.

“There is an electricity shortage of around 100,000 MW in Africa that needs to be fulfilled urgently. This investment needs to be done,” Karadeniz chairman Orhan Karadeniz says.

Home to some of the leading mineral and oil producers, the African continent is chronically short of electricity and is heavily reliant on diesel imports for power generation. “In addition, the countries in that region have plenty of oil and gas reserves. As these reserves come into production, and the countries get richer, the demand for electricity would rise rapidly.”

The power ships, which are typically converted freighters or other vessels, are aimed at serving mainly developing countries with inadequate onshore infrastructure to cover shortfalls in their electricity supply. The agreement between Karadeniz and the state-run Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) includes the direct supply of 450 MW of electricity to Ghana’s grid every year.

“We can extend this 10vyear deal by another 10 years. We can even sell electricity to neighbouring countries through Ghana,” Karadeniz says.

The first ship is scheduled to be delivered to Ghana early in 2015, while the second vessel was planned to be shipped within a year. Karadeniz says the company is building two more ships which would bring total capacity to over 1,500 MW within a year.

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