Assessment of a typical small Hydropower site for rural electrification in the Western Region of Ghana

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Small hydropower is one of the promising renewable energy sources in Ghana. Despite the small hydropower potential, Ghana is yet to develop small hydropower plants to supplement her energy needs. The main focus of this research work is on the identification of potential small hydropower site for the generation of energy as an alternative source of rural electrification and reduction of poverty in the Western Region of Ghana. In this study, the capital cost of such a rural electrification project, unit cost of generation, and unit cost of electricity to the end user are analyzed. The results indicate that a typical 60 kW small-scale hydropower plant would serve about 365 household with an average of 5 persons per household. The 60 kW power was obtained from using the head of 24 m and a flow rate of 0.5〖 m〗^3/s . The total capital cost is GH¢ 283,935.53 (US$ 139,000). The specific construction cost per kW is GH¢4698.21 (US$ 2,300) and unit energy cost was found to be GH¢ 0.31(US$ 0.15). The project would deliver 525,600 kWh/year. The RETScreen computer program which is commonly used in the North America is capable of evaluating the energy generation, investment and maintenance costs for small hydro-projects. The results also indicate that small-scale hydropower project would be favourable if government takes keen interest in its implementation. Small hydropower introduction in the rural community will enhance the quality of life for rural dwellers in numerous ways: improved lighting, more entertainment, communication options, replacement of paraffin lamps, supports rural enterprises, clinics etc.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Renewable Energy Technologies,