VRA keen on providing charging stations, assembling electric vehicles…pilot set for 2021


The Volta River Authority (VRA) wants to diversify it operations by tapping into the growing electric vehicle (EV) space.

The state-owned power generator and supplier is looking to start with providing charging stations across the country – with a pilot set for 2021 – before eventually venturing into assembling of EVs, as part of the Authority’s strategy to keep up with the dynamic nature of the power business.

“We are going to start by providing the electricity resource so that charging stations can be set up and also provide an opportunity for electric vehicles to be assembled in Ghana. We want to leverage our ability to provide electricity to make it more commercially viable and technically acceptable to assemble – at a minimum – electric vehicles in Ghana,” VRA’s Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, told the B&FT in Accra.

The pilot project, involving EV buses for staff between Akuse and Akosombo in the Eastern Region which will serve as a learning curve, will begin in 2021. Initially, the company had planned to roll out the pilot this year but for disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“We will start with a big pilot between Akuse and Akosombo. We are going to have electric buses for our staff, our school and Volta Lake Transport, and we will use that as a pilot to understand how EVs operate in that environment. Once we do that and get results, we’ll scale it up and it will become an everyday thing as it is in other countries,” he said.

On the potential of EVs in the country and whether Ghanaians will buy into it, he said: “Electric vehicles, I think, have a big space in Ghana; and I think it is only a matter of time before we start to see a proliferation of electric vehicles here.

“The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has already started. They have beaten us to it, but it is a space that we want to dominate. As a power generator, we think that we can be involved in the electric vehicles space and grow the industry to the country’s good.”

Changing face of the power industry

Mr. Antwi-Darkwa noted that the power industry, just like any other sector, is being transformed by technology. This, he added, requires the VRA to be technologically ready.

In this regard, he said, his outfit is aggressively taking steps to ensure it is not left behind. Part of the plan, he explained, is to use digitisation to improve the company’s processes and operations in order to sustain its future growth.

“The energy business is run differently now, there is a lot of technology involved. If we want to improve the business, our operations, how you execute projects, then we have got to go with technology. So, it is important that we use technology to improve our business processes as an institution, and how we interface with our partners and customers,” he explained.

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