VRA looks to digitisation, electric vehicles for future growth

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Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa

…as it launches 60th anniversary

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.

“We recognise that digitisation will compel us to drive down our costs and therefore remain competitive. So, we will fully embrace it,” CEO Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa said at the 60th anniversary launch in Accra themed ‘Celebrating 60 years in the power business: Our legacy, our future’.

He 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.”

Among other things, the 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.

All these diversification and expansion efforts are to be achieved through technology Mr. Darkwa said, 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.

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, Mr. Darkwa added.

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

State institutions must follow VRA’s example – Senior Minister

For his part, Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo described 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 next year April 26, 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 April 26, 2021, is gathering momentum; and we are all looking forward to playing our respective roles to make the event a great success,” said said VRA’s Board Chairman, Kweku Andoh Awotwi.

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