05 February 2014, Kampala — The commissioning of the 250MW Bujagali Hydro Power dam in 2012 boosted power supply in Uganda given that the months preceding it, were characterised by widespread load-shedding.
This had grossly affected Uganda’s competitiveness as manufacturers and traders incurred high costs of operation because they resorted to using generators.
Statistics from Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) show that Uganda’s current total installed capacity is 682MW. Registered peak system demand in December 2013 stood at 503MW compared to 506MW in November.
However, the country needs to find additional sources of power given that the demand for electricity is growing at an annual rate of between 10-12%.
As a result, the country is looking at alternative sources of energy. Last year, ERA and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development issued several permits for different projects that will ease the increasing power demand in the country.
The much anticipated commencement of construction of Karuma Dam by Sinohydro, a Chinese Firm contracted by the government of Uganda to construct the 600MW Karuma dam begun.
A team of financiers from Exim Bank of China were in December 2013 taken on an assessment tour of the project site as negations for funding were drawing to a conclusion. They afterwards met the Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka to close the deal.
Speaking to journalists later on, Mr. Song Yi Jun, Sinohydro Project Manager said, “As you can see, we have started assembling equipment and soon full scale construction will be under way.”
The firm has lined up 500 Chinese Experts to provide for the task which will see some 3000 locals directly employed at the peak period.
The Chinese government will provide 85% of the total project cost through a loan while Uganda will provide the remaining 15% and is to be completed with 60 months.
Isimba hydropower project with an installed capacity of 183MW is also being developed by China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE). The power plant and associated evacuation line will also be developed under bilateral cooperation between Uganda and China with the Chinese government providing a loan amounting to 85% of the total project cost with Uganda covering the other. The project will take 40 months.
– East Africa Business Week