African bank helps finance Volta River region grid link

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved US$48.6 million in loans to Ghana and Benin to finance a transmission system interconnection project among several West African nations.

The bank said April 4 that the project is to increase transmission capacity among Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Ghana for trading of electricity, which will improve reliability of supply, reduce production costs, and, during drought, help offset shortfall in output of hydropower stations in individual countries.

AfDB allotted 14.86 million units of account (US$22.4 million) to Ghana-based hydro operator Volta River Authority and 17.39 million UA (US$26.2 million) to Benin utility Communaute Electrique du Benin. The funding represents 45 percent of the total project cost of 71.53 million UA (US$107.6 million).

The project includes 338 kilometers of 330-kV single-circuit line from Volta in Ghana through Togo to Sakete in Benin; extension of the Volta and Sakete substations; and a new substation at Mome Hagou, Togo.

AfDB said the new line would be a step toward creation of a West African Power Pool covering the region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Goods and services are to be acquired by international bidding, with 42 months of work to begin in November.

In February, Benin, Togo, and Nigeria inaugurated a transmission line linking their national grids and aimed at improving insufficient electricity infrastructure in West Africa. (HNN 2/16/07)

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