ACCRA, Ghana, June 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that Africa’s renewable energy capacity could reach 310GW by 2030, catapulting the continent into the top tier of green energy production. The Bui Power Authority (BPA) hydro-solar hybrid power plant in Ghana is leading the way in Sub Saharan Africa, with essential communication and operational management services provided across Huawei’s eLTE Broadband Network.
Ghanaian Energy Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh underscored the importance of ICT systems in providing intelligent energy management critical for ensuring efficient power generation, power plant operations and power distribution. They enable renewable energy to be integrated into the grid for the reliable, stable access and supply needed in order to achieve the country’s goal of universal electricity access by 2025.
Dr. Prempeh made the statement when the Bui Power Authority put into operation a broadband private network built by Huawei at its generating station at Bui.
“As Ghana is striding towards achieving universal electricity access by 2025, it is important for us to unleash the transformational power of ICT in optimizing the operations at power plants, increasing the efficiency of renewable energy use, and ensuring a stable and cost-effective electricity supply to many more households nationwide,” said the minister.
Bui Authority and Huawei have built an eLTE broadband private network that penetrates the substantial concrete barriers and infrastructure at Bui Power Plant, in Ghana. This is the first time that Huawei has deployed eLTE-based solution in the hydroelectric industry. The network, which carries voice, video, and data services, enables instant communication between the control room and maintenance staff moving around the plant. It covers, without extensive cabling and installation, both indoor and outdoor working areas, including roadways inside the dam, generator rooms, and employee living areas within the Bui vicinity.
More digital applications to come
With features like “push-to-talk” and group calls for both voice and video, the private network makes routine maintenance and handling of emergencies easier and more efficient at the power plant.
“now staff can communicate via video call to fix maintenance challenges in record time”, said by a Huawei engineer. “Building modern networks also provides capacity for growth, enabling intelligent digital transformation of the site in the future.”
Hydro-solar hybrid system
Clean energy is becoming increasingly important in Ghana’s national energy mix, as Ghana’s National Energy Plan aims to achieve 10% penetration of renewable energy by 2030. The role of the Bui Generating Station as an important provider of hydroelectric power in the country has been further strengthened and complemented with new installation of solar power generation capability.
In October 2019, construction commenced on the first phase of the 250MW project with the development of a Solar PV Facility. Additionally, the Bui Power Authority (BPA) has commissioned a 5MW Floating Solar Plant which is the first in the Sub-Saharan region and supplies power through the Bui Switchyard to the National Interconnected Transmission System (NITS).
Powering development in Northern Ghana
The Bui Generating Station produces 404MW of hydro power. An additional 50MW of power is generated from the solar installations on site, with the total renewable power output contributing around 6-7% of the total power generated in-country. This is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 47,000 tons per year.
The country is keen to take advantage of the reservoir created by the Bui Generating Station to promote fishing in the reservoir and the irrigation of over 30,000 hectares of land for crops, including maize, cashew, and sugar cane.
The BPA is collaborating with strategic private investors for the running of a local cashew processing plant and sugar mill within the Bui vicinity. This intervention is aimed at developing agriculture in Ghana, boosting employment, and thus improving the lives of local people.