3 October 2011

East Africa: Bujagali, Nyagak Power Plants Ready

Kampala — The long awaited Bujagali and Nyagak hydropower projects expected to mitigate the acute electricity supply deficit, will be online in November and December 2011respectively.

Bujagali Hydropower project's 250MW, which suffered a major setback after its development efforts were frustrated by internal and external factors, will generate the first unit of 50MW. Nyagak will produce 3.6MW.

This will bring an additional 53.6MW to the National Grid.

The additional 53.6MW power supply from Bujagali in Jinja and Nyagak in Zombo district will bring to 433.6MW total supply on the national grid.

Uganda's current generation capacity is 380MW, which is only 10% of the target of 3800MW set in the National Development Plan (NDP).

Speaking during a joint visit of energy sector projects in West Nile region funded by Germany and the European Union (U), the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni, said Bujagali, the major setback to Uganda's power sector, would have come on line by end of 2004.

"The project is in its advanced stages and we are expecting the first unit of 50MW to come online in November 2011 and the whole plant's 250MW commissioned by April 2012," Muloni said.

The Minister said feasibility studies for the development of Karuma Hydropower Project (600MW) and Ayago (600MW) have also been finalised.

She said the Ministry is now in the process of procuring the Project Manager and the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

"It is envisaged that these will be on board by the end of January 2012 and the construction of the project will take about four to five years therefore by 2016 we shall have Karuma's first unit come on line" Muloni said.

The minister's remarks come amidst raging and deteriorating power supply that has led to intensive load shedding. Power cuts in the country have now reached an alarming level of 24hr daily. The additional supply is expected to ease the rampant load shedding and reduction in use of expensive thermal power generation.

Addressing the delegation, which included Parliamentarians in Arua, the German Ambassador to Uganda, Klaus Dieter Duxmann, said Germany committed 120 million Euros (UgShs47 billion) to Uganda in 2010 for a three year period, an increase of almost 60% compared to the previous three years.

Klaus said a substantial amount of the assistance was given to the energy sector, which the German and Ugandan Government declared as a total area of cooperation.

"We believe that energy is vital to economic growth, and clean energy is a key driver to a sustainable future," Klaus said.

The Uganda-Germany development cooperation has been a long standing partnership of over 30 years

EU Ambassador, Roberto Ridolfi, says limited access to energy is a major constraint to Uganda's development and yet the country has a significant potential of renewable energy power estimated at 5,300MW.

Rudolf says the government wants to exploit this potential and increase the use of modern renewable energy from the current 4% and 61% of the total energy consumption by 2017.

"The main financing instrument of the energy partnership is the EU energy facility, which is supporting energy investments through grants across Africa," Ridolfi said.

During the visit of the region accompanied by mostly Members of Parliament from the West Nile region, the Minister and Ambassadors launched Menyar Pico hydropower scheme in Moyo. Pico is a rural community power scheme that supplies power for lighting to 78 households.

The delegation also visited Oloko Secondary School, one of the 47 institutions in the region that have been electrified using Solar PV, with the support of Germany and the EU through German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

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