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First West African hydro-solar plant deployed in Ghana

First West African hydro-solar plant deployed in Ghana

tech innovation 2022

Aerial view of 50 MW solar PV plant with 200 additional MW under development. Credits: BPA

The first West African hydro-solar plant was deployed in Ghana in January, with technical assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Once its full capacity is online, this hydro-solar plant will put Ghana on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions of its power sector by 235,000 tonnes per year.

As energy demand in Ghana grows, its government is looking to diversify the country’s energy mix and convert renewable energy (VRE) to its national grid—particularly wind and solar—to reach its target emissions targets, including fossil fuels. Seeking to find innovative ways to move away from fuel, supplemental water resources, and lower energy costs during periods of drought.

To support this effort, in 2017 a USAID-NREL partnership with the Bui Power Authority (BPA) of Ghana held an NREL-hosted workshop on advanced photovoltaic (PV) plant capabilities, solar and wind grid integration, and best practices on small scale integration. focused on. -scale and utility-scale VREs in the grid of Ghana. Following the workshop, BPA provided additional technical support to the NREL team to support BPA by adding power from solar PV to the existing 400-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric dam to cut greenhouse gases, increase hydroelectricity and provide energy diversification. invited to.

Building on those discussions, USAID’s Power Africa West Africa Energy Program (WAEP) and NREL, in collaboration with BPA, will expand PV capacity to 250 MW in 2021 to operate the first 50 MW of PV within the existing Buoy Generating Station hydroelectric dam site. planned to increase. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, the plant will also include a 20-MW-hour battery energy storage system and controls, which was suggested by the NREL team so that the plant can meet the existing grid code for renewable energy resources, To manage the variability of solar, and increase the credibility of the country’s power sector.

This new capacity will provide enough energy to power an estimated 200,000 homes and allow BPA to gain valuable experience in developing more solar power projects.

“The global challenge of climate change, as well as the need to secure energy supplies, make hydro-solar plant development very important for Ghana and West Africa,” said Peter Achempong, deputy director of renewable energy at BPA, who Collaborated with NREL-WAEP team.

PV installation

Since 2017, the NREL-WAEP team has hosted workshops, provided technical analysis, reviewed grid impact and sustainability studies for the plant, model power flows for transient events, and developed Ghana’s new approach to VRE. Evaluated the plant design to ensure compliance with the grid code. He also provided guidance on utility-scale PV and worked closely with stakeholder and industry groups in Ghana to review best practices with operating this large-scale VRE plant. In addition to working with the BPA and the Volta River Authority (VRA, another Ghanaian power authority), the NREL-WAEP team collaborated with sector agencies including distribution utilities, transmission utilities and independent power producers in conducting analytical studies and impact assessments . Bui Solar Project.

Adding PV to a hydro plant allows BPA to balance the variable output of solar by simultaneously increasing or decreasing hydro power output in real time to maintain a steady power supply to meet demand, with new controls. and effectively managing capabilities. Output NREL worked closely with BPA’s Renewable Energy Manager to conduct an in-depth analysis of the impacts of such hybrid hydro-PV operation, and the institutional, required institutional, to operate the proposed system in a hybrid manner while maintaining system stability. To ensure operational and hardware changes. and reliability. In parallel, NREL worked with Ghana Grid Company Limited, the system operator and transmission asset owner, to better understand the potential operational implications of interconnecting BPA’s hybrid systems.

“We are equipping them with all the tools and lessons we have learned in the United States about VRE integration, and, in some cases, helping them avoid some of the challenges we face with the latest technology and standards. This type of partnership is intended to be an effective way to streamline the process of integrating advanced technologies,” said David Corbus, Wind Grid Integration Lead at NREL and a member of the NREL-WAEP team supporting the Ghana Solar project. “

The project represents a major advance in West Africa’s efforts to integrate large stocks of renewable energy into its regional energy mix. As Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a speech read out on his behalf, “This further reflects my government’s commitment to fulfill its promise to increase the renewable energy component in our energy mix to 10 percent by 2030.” Is.”

The first 50 MW of the plant generates energy on the national grid during the day, with a 1 MW installed system consisting of floating solar PV. Overall, the hydro-solar hybrid installation allows Ghana to harness its vast solar resources, combat low water levels during the dry season, and provide grid operators with greater flexibility to operate hydroelectric plants at night.

Exploring Rooftop Solar

In parallel with large-scale utility PV installations, the NREL-WAEP team is also supporting the deployment of decentralized PV in Ghana, helping consumers tap into the savings of rooftop solar. The team provides power distribution companies with the tools needed to understand and plan distributed PV, recognize the financial impact for utilities and consumers under various scenarios, and perform capacity-hosting analysis and rapidly assess the benefits and challenges of new customer solar installations. Still working.

“We worked with the Ghanaian Electricity Company and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company, where we transferred open-source software to them and provided them with training, capacity building and workshops with utility engineers, where we assessed plans and developed systems for integrated distributed PV. looked at the study,” Corbus said of the contributions of the team behind Ghana’s PV plan.

Part of the training includes completing utility revenue impact analysis and equipment development training, which assesses how the PV impacts the build model, cash flow and revenue. The team also works with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission and the Energy Commission of Ghana to clarify results, answer questions and challenges for distributed PV planning, and translate the results of the analysis into policy.

the road ahead

The Bui Hydro-Solar Hybrid Project is a historic leap towards a more sustainable future for Ghana and West Africa, paving the way for more renewable energy technologies across the continent, as a model for hybrid plants of the future It is serving, and demonstrates how inter-agency collaboration can accelerate program outcomes and enable future partnerships.

“Through a social push towards sustainable clean energy, my hope is that 60% or more of the total electricity supplied to the national grid is from renewable energy sources. Although this may be on the higher side as Ghana is a developing country And we may be constrained by some uncontrollable factors, with the right mindset, we can push to make this dream or hope come true,” Achempong said.

But there is a long road ahead: more than half of sub-Saharan Africa still lacks access to electricity. The NREL-WAEP team continues its work to bring clean, accessible and affordable energy to the region, overcoming cross-cultural and geographic barriers to address mutual deployment goals and provide innovative and reliable energy solutions.


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Provided by National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Citation: First West African hydro-solar plant deployed in Ghana (2022, June 20) Obtained on 20 June 2022

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