Contributed Article

Ghana is taking concrete steps to ensure power access to every citizen by 2025, in line with the country’s commitment to its Sustainable Development Goals 7 (SDG7). Nearly 43% of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to electricity, but thanks to the efforts of the country’s administration, Ghana is on its way to achieving full access within the next 18 months.

Growing aspirations coupled with increased urbanisation and rising demographic requirements has led to a significant increase in power demand in Ghana in the last decade. Lack of reliable and equitable power access impacts the social and economic growth of the country. Severe electricity supply challenges are costing Ghana an average of $2.1 million in loss of production daily.

The Ghana Government would need to procure an additional generation capacity of 225 MW by January 2024 and an additional 200 MW by January 2025 to address the growing demand-supply gap. The Government is now focusing on renewable energy sources to meet this challenge.

A crucial element in the Ghana Government’s vision to provide universal power access and to grow the Bui Hydro-Solar PV Hybrid (HSH) system. Significantly, Bui HSH uses a combination of solar and water power to ensure that the power supply is reliable and affordable. In total, the renewable power output of Bui HSH contributes around 6-7% of the power generated in the country and is likely to bring down Greenhouse Gas emissions by more than 47,000 tons per year. This is in line with Ghana’s National Energy Plan’s aim to achieve a 10% penetration of renewable energy by 2030.

“Bringing the Bui Hydro-Solar PV Hybrid system online enables us to connect more customers to achieve our universal access target of 90% by 2024, way ahead of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to electricity by 2030. It also contributes to delivering on the promise in our National Energy plan to increase the renewable energy installed capacity in our energy mix to 10% by 2030,” said Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Energy, Ghanaian Government, at the groundbreaking project.

The Bui Power Authority (BPA) has also commissioned a 5 MW Floating Solar Plant, the first of its kind in the sub-region, ensuring the sustainable utilisation of its reservoir.

eLTE broadband private network to enable real-time communication

Even as Bui HSH plays a crucial role in addressing the energy gap, its operations and management were hindered by a lack of communication between the workforce in the underground area and other locations. The plant needed a communication solution that was able to penetrate the thick concrete walls of the dam.

In addition, network signal is typically weak in an underground environment, so the solution needed to be robust enough to address this issue. Complex building structure further added to the challenge of setting up a network. The lack of real-time communication between the staff negatively impacted the efficiency and led to several issues, including insufficient security dispatch or delayed emergency landing.

Bui HSH deployed Huawei’s eLTE broadband private network to address these challenges. Huawei’s solution is able to penetrate the thick concrete barriers to provide voice, video and data services that enable real-time communication between the control room and maintenance staff at the plant.

This is the first such installation in the hydroelectric industry by Huawei. The eLTE-based network seamlessly covers the indoor and outdoor environment and provides features like `push-to-talk’ and group calls, to enable employees to communicate effectively across the plant. This has led to more collaboration and more efficient management of the plant.

Huawei’s eLTE broadband private network solution is enabling more effective collaboration between the workforce leading to improved management of the plant, to quickly realise its goal of providing universal power access by 2025 in Ghana.

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