Brief on the 400MW Bui Hydroelectric Project

The 400 MW Bui Hydro Project is about 93% complete as of May 30, 2013, and in the final stages of construction. Dry and wet tests, which were to verify proper, complete and satisfactory erection of all the subsystems for the first generating unit (Unit #3) were carried out and successfully completed in April 2013. The first generating unit (Unit #3) has since been inaugurated by his Excellency President John Mahama on May 3, 2013 to generate 133 megawatts into the national grid.
The full complement of the Plant (400MW) should be available in the fourth quarter 2013. Other associated and non-power works on the Project would however continue till the second quarter of 2014 when all works on the Project will be completed.

The components of the project are at different levels of completion as follows:

Resettlement Part A 100% complete
Resettlement Part B 100% complete
Resettlement Part C 96% complete
Main dam, spillway and power intakes 99% complete
Powerhouse civil works 99% complete
Installation of turbine-generator 85% complete
Saddle dam 1 100% complete
Saddle dam 2 95% complete
Transmission System 88% complete
Downstream bridge 98% complete
Bui-Menji Road Diversion 80% complete
Employer’s Village 75% complete

Project Background
The Government of Ghana by its Act 740 of 2007 established the Bui Power Authority (BPA) to be responsible for the implementation of the Bui Hydroelectric Project which had been contracted to the Sinohydro Corporation of China under an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract dated 19th April 2007.

Resettlement  
The implementation of the Bui Hydroelectric Project has required the resettlement of one thousand, two hundred and sixteen (1,216) people living in seven communities and the Old Bui Camp. The resettlement program has been implemented in three (3) stages. The first part, (Part A) involved the resettlement of communities that were living within the Project construction area. For this reason, the temporary resettlement of these communities was undertaken prior to the commencement of construction activities and later to their permanent location. The second part (Part B) involved the resettlement of communities that resided at locations that were to be inundated by impoundment of the river which begun in 2011. The third and final part (Part C) would involve the resettlement of the Old Bui Camp, the current residence of officers of the Game and Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission who have been assigned to protect the Bui National Park.

Water supply systems (bore holes) are in place in all the resettlement communities so that the residents who hitherto depended on the River for drinking water can have a safer source of potable water.

The construction of community facilities for the resettlement communities has been completed. These include Community Centre, Market and three levels of basic education. A nursery, a 6-unit classroom block for primary and a JHS have all been completed. A clinic has also been handed over to the district assembly.


Aerial View of BPA Resettlement township near Bongase - February 2013

Additional Funding 
The Bui Project experienced a shortfall in project funding arising primarily from the unanticipated effects of the recent global upheavals as well as unforeseen essential works and the inadequacy of the budget provided for some line items in the EPC Contract.

The Government of Ghana has however secured the additional funding required (totaling US$168 million) from the Eximbank of China.

Main Dam Area
Civil (concrete) works are substantially completed. To date, it is about 99% complete. Impoundment of the dam which commenced in 2011 continued in 2012 flood season. Presently the water level in the reservoir is 169.20 metres above sea level (masl). This represents about 54% of the reservoir formation.

Power House

  1. Civil Works – the civil works for the powerhouse (building and water passages) are about 99% complete.
  2. Electromechanical Works – erection of the components of the Turbine-Generator (i.e. Turbine runner, wicket gates, turbine shaft, head cover, servomotors, generator stator, generator rotor and others) started in earnest in May 2012 using the Powerhouse Overhead Bridge Crane after the crane which has a maximum lifting capacity of 360 tons was installed and successful tested. The status of erection of the three generating units is 50%, 95% and 100% complete for Units 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The first generating unit (unit 3) from the Bui Generation Station was successfully commissioned in May 3, 2013. Currently, the unit is undergoing “Trial Run” and generating about 100 MW during the peak period to supplement power generation. Per the Contractor’s schedule the commissioning of the second generating unit (Unit 2) is expected in July 2013.

The overall completion of electromechanical works for the Project is about 93% complete.


Powerhouse showing the Generating Units - May 2013

Downstream Permanent Bridge
Works on the downstream Permanent Bridge is about 98% completed. Final loading test to ascertain the loading conditions of the bridge as compared to the design requirements was successfully carried out in February 2013. The results were satisfactory. The bridge is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2013.

Saddle Dams
Saddle Dam #1 is 100% completed.  Work on Saddle Dam #2 which is in two parts (minor and major) has commenced. Work on Saddle Dam #2 (minor part) is completed. Progress of work on the major part is about 95% and expected to be completed by July 2013.
  
Crop Compensation 
The Lands Valuation Division of the Lands Commission, acting on behalf of the Government of Ghana and with the assistance of the Bui Power Authority (BPA) completed the payment of the first batch of crop compensation, amounting to one million, one hundred and fourteen thousand, two hundred and nine Ghana Cedis (GHS1,114,209) to 580 farmers whose economy trees and crops have been affected by the ongoing Bui Hydroelectric Project. This crop compensation was paid in respect of farms within the construction site for the main Bui Dam, the inundation area and the resettlement townships.

The next batch of compensation payments being processed will cover the economic trees, crops and property affected by the construction of four transmission lines as part of the Project.


Affected farmer signs and receives compensation from the Land Valuation Division of Lands’ Commission

Land Compensation 
The Lands Valuation Division of the Lands Commission, acting on behalf of the Government of Ghana and with the assistance of the Bui Power Authority (BPA) has completed compilation of land owners of the land acquired for the Bui Hydroelectric Project.
Currently, the claims are being reconciled to eliminate over lapping claims after which they will be processed for payment to affected landowners.

ANCILLARY PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

  • Landing Ramp for Fisheries 

Work has commenced on the construction of a landing ramp to support fishing efforts in the Bui reservoir and to enable the effective monitoring and control of access to the reservoir as well as contact with the lake in the interest of public health and sustainable fisheries.
 

  • Irrigation Scheme

Another auxiliary project to the Bui Generating Plant is an Irrigation scheme, which is expected to cover an estimated 30,000 hectares of land. The proposed area is located about 32km North East of the Dam site. 
A consulting firm has been engaged to conduct detailed feasibility studies of the proposed area and also provide detailed designs for the development of 5000 hectares as the first phase of development. A draft report has been submitted to stakeholders for review.

  • Blackfly Control

BPA has been working with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research towards the development of a black fly nuisance control program. The overall aim of the program is to develop strategies to control blackflies and eliminate the nuisance at the Bui dam site. 
The early impact of the impoundment so far appears to indicate the near eradication of the breeding sites for the Blackfly upstream of the dam. This appears to have diminished significantly the population of the Blackfly in the immediate environs of the Project area over the past 18 months.

A field investigation to mark out the breeding sites of the Blackfly downstream of the dam is currently being conducted by a Medical Research Team from Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. A corresponding control programme would also be proposed by the institute. An interim report has been submitted and is currently undergoing review.

  • Forest Resource Enhancement

The BPA Forest Resource Enhancement Program, which is currently in pilot implementation, is designed to promote sustainable utilization of the forest in the Black Volta Basin and other parts of the Acquired Land (Executive Instrument 70). The Program involves reforestation/afforestation, protection of natural forests and the preservation of indigenous knowledge of forestry resources. 
 

  • Wildlife Rescue

A Wildlife Rescue Programme funded by BPA to protect the wildlife species in the inundated areas has been completed. A total of five hundred and thirty-three (533) animals were rescued and nineteen (19) were found dead. Patrol and monitoring operations are on-going to prevent poaching and to reduce the hunting pressure on the wildlife.

  • Bui City

BPA continues to believe in the vision of a Bui City and is keen to pursue its realization. The reality however is that Bui City is still a concept for which no financial provision has been made yet. The realization of the Bui City concept depends upon the attraction of private investors to establish businesses in the area and also develop the different components of the city according to the needs of the businesses and residents.

The attraction of investors, vetting of proposals and negotiation of agreements would therefore commence soon. But it is certain that the development of the city will take several more years.