Kigali — Rukarara Small Hydro Power Project has been fully completed at a cost of $23.5m, injecting between 2.5MW to 6MW into the national electricity grid.
In an interview with The New Times, the State Minister for Energy Eng. Colletha Ruhamya, said that the plant located in Nyamagabe District in the Southern Province, started producing electricity in December last year.
"Rukarara went on line just before Christmas. It is producing about 6 Mega Watts though it is designed to produce 9.5 MW. But we expect it to hit the maximum as we progress into this year, when the rains intensify and the water flow increases," she revealed.
"At this stage we are just testing the functioning of the dam, but at a later stage, it will be officially commissioned but it is already producing electricity," said Ruhamya.
According to Eng. Leonard Kassana, a hydropower consultant at the Ministry of Infrastructure, overall major project components are at 100% completion.
The power generated from the plant is connected through a newly constructed 8 km single circuit 30 KV transmission line directly to an existing Medium Voltage line to the national network.
"Full load testing, that is testing using all three generating units concurrently, is awaiting remedial works for the Fore-bay spillway structure which is being redesigned by the contractor to be able to safely discharge spillage upon full load rejection," Kassana told The New Times.
He added that during the testing and commissioning period, and depending available hydrological flows, generating units are running at daily peak periods injecting between 2.5 MW and 6 MW into national grid.
At its designed maximum capacity, the power plant can contribute about 11% of the total national capacity.
The plant which boasts of three turbines, was under the management of Beijing Forever Technology Development Co. Ltd till July 2009 and was later handed to AECOM (formerly RSW International) from Canada from December 2009.
According to MININFRA, other additional projects, both domestic and regional, are at various stages of implementation.
Nyabarongo Hydro Electric Project which will be producing 28MW is currently under construction and is expected to go online by February 2013. Feasibility studies for Rusizi III HEP, to produce 145 MW, shared among Rwanda, DRC and Burundi, are complete. It is expected to be complete in 2016.
Rusumo expected to produce 61 MW, shared among Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda, will be completed in 2015. The feasibility Study has already been finalized