January 27, 2015 / 4:46 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-General Electric says to build 1,200 MW power plant in Ghana

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PEDUASE, Ghana, Jan 27 (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE) will build a 1,200-megawatt thermal power plant in Ghana to come onstream in the next five years in a bid to address the West African country’s power deficit, chief executive Jeff Immelt said on Tuesday.

The U.S. company will also provide emergency power systems in Ghana this year to help offset a current crisis, he said, after a meeting with President John Mahama at a presidential palace outside the capital.

Mahama said the project would be the biggest in Ghana’s history, exceeding production at the main hydroelectric source at Akosombo in the east of the country.

“We stand ready to be a great partner for emergency power by the summer and also we’ll invest and bring together some other investors to make this (thermal project) happen,” Immelt said.

The main project will be in two phases, comprising a 750-megawatt plant by 2017 to run on liquefied natural gas and a second plant two years later, he said. The government says it aims to reduce its dependence on crude oil for power plants.

Since 2012, Ghana has faced power shortages caused by inadequate gas supplies to run thermal plans and low water levels in existing hydroelectric reservoirs.

The economy has grown rapidly in recent years based on exports of oil, cocoa and gold, though economists say power rationing have constrained development. Ghana projects growth at 3.9 percent for 2015 due in part to fiscal problems. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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