Zoetic Global, a US-based project developer, has executed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for 100MW of additive power generation at the nation's Akosombo Dam on Lake Volta.
"We look forward to working closely with ECG and other key parties to provide additional power needed to support Ghana's growth," says Jerome Ringo, chairman and CEO of Zoetic Global. "This project will bring substantial, clean and immediate power on-line without environmental impact or societal disruption."
Ghana President John Dramani Mahama touted the contract signed between Zoetic and ECG while emphasizing his administration's comprehensive approach to energy production and the key role of renewables. "The Zoetic project is an ideal fit for our sustainable development platform. We welcome new developers bringing practical and impactful solutions like this to our country."
The project will involve an array of modular hydrokinetic turbines to be deployed in the post-dam wash of the Akosombo Dam. The In-Stream Auger Turbine (IAT) technology being used is designed for high efficiency power generation from flowing water and will leverage existing infrastructure at the dam site including grid connections, access roads, and on-site maintenance buildings.
The Zoetic project at Akosombo has the potential to be a landmark deployment in the emerging field of hydrokinetics and a significant new entry into a renewable energy sector where solar and wind technologies have dominated the spotlight. "Zoetic offers an alternative solution that will activate more development in the hydro power market," says Thomas Trimble, a leading partner in the Africa Practice of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. "Zoetic addresses an untapped market opportunity, which sits between the traditional large-scale hydro dams and small micro hydro projects."
In Ghana, demand for new electricity from households has more than doubled in the past five years, leading to several measures by the Ghanaian government to support additional generation capacity. "We at ECG view this project as a critical building block for improving the country's energy outlook in 2016 and beyond," said Robert Dwamena, the managing director of ECG.
Zoetic is working with strategic partners including Natural Power Concepts, International Coil Ltd, and JWF Industries on turbine production and preparations for the project implementation. The manufacturing of the hydrokinetic devices and components is scheduled throughout 2016 via partnerships in Pennsylvania and India, with final assembly taking place in Ghana.
John Pitre, inventor of the IAT and founder of Natural Power Concepts, says that "The IAT was designed with developing countries in mind. With traditional hydroelectric plants taking several years to complete and requiring extensive site construction with heavy environmental impacts," he says, "I believed that an alternative solution was needed that could be lower maintenance and more quickly deployed."
In addition to agreements in Ghana, Zoetic is actively negotiating Power Purchase Agreements in other nations in Sub-Saharan Africa as interest in renewables increases across the region. "With recent drivers such as the Obama Administration's Power Africa initiative and the Paris Climate Pact," Mr. Ringo says, "renewable energy promoters have an immense opportunity to deliver real impact to the developing world."