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Karuma dam commissioning pushed to September 2024

Kampala, (UG): Karuma Hydroelectric Station, the largest power-generating installation in the country, will be finally ready for commissioning by September 2024, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has disclosed.

The construction of the 600MW power station located in Kiryandongo District along the River Nile commenced in December 2013. The project which was initially estimated to cost $1.7 billion (sh6.323 trillion) has since its cost skyrocketed to now sh8.183 trillion. 

The dam was expected to be completed by 2018 but the project underwent unprecedented delays and extensions.

Sidronious Okasaai Opolot, the State Minister for Energy explained that the dam was expected to be ready by 2019, but it suffered encumbrances such as land acquisition and vandalism.

Okasaai told URN that now, four out of the six units are fully operational and synchronized to the national grid. The fourth unit is pending completion by the end of November while the sixth unit will be ready in 2024 to enable optimum functionality of the decade-long hydroelectric facility.

Eng. Emmanuel Sande Nsubuga, a Principal Energy Officer in the Ministry, says that completion of the Karuma Dam project will facilitate power supply to meet the growing demand for 1gigawatt of electricity needed by the different industrial players around and along the transmission route.

Weighing on Karuma Power Project, Eng. Cecilia Nakiranda Menya, the Acting Director of Energy Resources in the Ministry noted that the project is among other ongoing generation plants aimed at meeting the 52,000 MW of generation capacity to drive Uganda’s sustainable economic growth.

In November 2022, Parliament approved another request by the Government to borrow up to U$331.5 million from the International Development Association – IDA of the World Bank Group to support the electricity access scale-up project in the country. 

Notably, in a recent plenary sitting of Parliament, legislators from across the have expressed disappointment with the status of the electricity and power sub-sector in the country.

The government has set a target of achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 but plans to connect an additional 1.5 million households to the grid and increase the electrification rate from 28% to 50%.

Currently, Uganda has an installed electricity capacity of 1,402 megawatts as of December 2022, according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), with demand at 843 MW leaving a surplus of 559 MW.

Once completed, the country’s installed electricity capacity is projected to hit at least 2000 MW. 

In October, the Government launched the Energy Policy 2023 to scale up access to electricity for households, refugee and host communities, industrial parks, commercial enterprises, and public institutions, so as to spur socio-economic transformation, in line with Uganda’s Vision 2040.

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