Explosion rocks Aboadze thermal plant
A huge explosion has ripped through one of the thermal plants at the Aboadze power enclave in the Shama District in the Western Region, leading to the loss of 50 megawatts (MW) of power to the national grid.
However, the Volta River Authority (VRA) has said there is no cause for alarm, as there is enough generation to cover the shortfall from the blast.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic, the Deputy Chief Executive of the VRA in charge of Engineering and Operation, Edward Obeng Kenzo, said the explosion, which occurred last Thursday, was of very high pressure, leading to the flying of heavy metallic objects.
However, he said, there was no fatality.
“At the time, there was limited human movement,” he said.
When the Daily Graphic visited the scene, there were piles of debris, with the windows of some of the offices at the site and the windscreens of vehicles shattered.
Residents of the community who heard the blast said they were initially scared, but the company, through its community relations outfit, engaged them to explain to them what had happened.
Mr Kenzo attributed the explosion to a system failure and gave an assurance that it would be rectified as soon as possible to restore the lost megawatts.
“A cable got burnt and grounded some control boards which control the pressure build-up and the boiler,” he explained.
He said as it happened, the operators tried to control it manually but the pressure was such that manual control could not rectify the situation.
“So what they did was to shut down the steam turbine, and in the process, some of the pipes got raptured,” he said.
“As we speak, the team has carried out an assessment and we can fix it with all the materials available within a short time. We should be able to bring back the boiler and restore the 50MW that we have lost,” he added.
Mr Kenzo dispelled rumours that the entire plant was down, saying: “I can understand the speculation about the incident, but we are meeting the national power demand. Akosombo and Akuse are fully up and the three machines in Tema are also available.”
Explaining further, he said two machines in Tema were running at peak, using liquid fuel; Aboadze was running at half-combine, Takoradi International Company (TICO) at the full combine, while Karpower, Twin-City, among others, were all up.
“We are really not affected in terms of power availability; what we would have wished was to generate cheaper power with the steam added at no cost. Most of the materials we need are available and there is a bit of inventory currently ongoing,” he said.
He indicated that the real work to be done was more of cable pulling and welding, which should not take time after assembling the needed logistics.
He said the VRA’s adherence to safety at all levels of its operation was intact.
Yesterday, officials of the Corporate Affairs and External Relations Unit of the VRA came up with a statement to assure the public that the situation was under control and that everything was being done to return the affected plant to full operation.
On speculations of a possible power outage as a result of the incident, it said the explosion would neither significantly affect operations at the enclave nor electricity supply to consumers.