Karuma Hydro Power Project ready for launch, says Nabbanja

The Karuma Hydro Power Project in Kiryandongo District, mid-northern Uganda is set to be commissioned for full operation late this year according to Uganda’s Prime Minister, Rt Hon Robinah Nabbanja.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja (L) and a her visiting team at Karuma Hydro Power Project site on Saturday, July 15, 2023 (Photo/Ronald Kundu Matte)

KIRYANDONGO, UGANDA: The Karuma Hydro Power Project in Kiryandongo District, mid-northern Uganda is set to be commissioned for full operation late this year according to Uganda’s Prime Minister, Rt Hon Robinah Nabbanja.

Ms Nabbanja said on Saturday as she paid a courtesy visit to check on the progress of the project ahead of this full launch.

“The project is 99% complete with three units already generating 300MW of power. Soon the 4th unit will be operational and I am very hopeful that by November, the project will be ready for launching”, Nabbanja said.

The Karuma Hydro Power Project generates power at 11kV, which is then stepped up to 400kV for the Karuma-Kawanda line, 132 kV for the Karuma-Lira line, and 132 kV for the Karuma-Olwiyo line.

During the tour on Saturday, the Kiryandongo district chairperson, Ms Aliguma Edith Adyeeri, requested the Prime Minister for Corporate social responsibility (CSR) to be given to Kiryandongo as part of the project.

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The chairperson brought it to the attention of the Prime Minister that all CSR projects had been taken to Oyam and Masindi districts.

The Prime Minister (Centre – Front row), in a group photo with Kiryandongo district leadership and staff on her visit at the Karuma Hydropower project on Saturday, July 15, 2023.

Nabbanja in response acknowledged the fact that indeed Kiryandongo had benefited nothing from the project. To this effect, she made an executive directive that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Energy should work on the refurbishment of Karuma health centre II and make it better to save the project-affected persons in Karuma, Kiryandongo as a whole and neighbouring areas.

Eng. Paul Tumwine, the deputy project manager of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) stated that the total cost of the project will be $1.7 billions.

From this, he says China Export and Import Bank (China EXIM Bank) extended a loan equal to 85% of the project cost, while the remaining 15% is financed by the Government of Uganda.

UEGCL selected Switzerland-based engineering and design company, AF-Consult Switzerland, as the project management consultant for the multi-billion power project.

Engineering consulting company Energy Infratech carried out detailed feasibility as well as environment and social impact assessment studies for the hydropower project. The company also designed and prepared tender documents and is performing project supervision.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project was awarded to Sinohydro, a hydropower and construction company based in China.

Sinohydro subcontracted Alstom (now GE) for supplying turbine generator sets and related equipment for the project, while the transformer units for the project are provided by Shandong Taikai Transformer Company, a company based in China.

Hima Cement, a Uganda-based subsidiary of LafargeHolcim, was subcontracted by Sinohydro to supply cement for the project.

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PowerChina Huadong, a subsidiary of Sinohydro, is the main designer, while Entura is providing advisory services while Intec GOPA-International Energy Consultants provided project management and supervision services for the Karuma Interconnection project.

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