Report: Uganda to test newest units at 200-MW Kiira

Uganda’s Energy Ministry is quoted saying test runs are expected soon for the fifth 40-MW turbine-generator at the 200-MW Kiira hydroelectric project on the Victoria Nile River.

The East African of neighboring Kenya said Uganda Energy Minister Daudi Migereko confirmed he had requested permission from the Ministry of Water and Environment for additional water releases to test the new units. The ministry has been storing water in preparation for the test run and seeks authorization for releases above 850 cubic meters per second for a full test of all four of Kiira’s units.

�We tested Unit 14 some time ago and found problems that had to be addressed, but we have now completed installation of Unit 15 and the station is ready to be run,� the minister said. �But rather than test this unit independently, I would like to seek a full test run of the entire station.�

Uganda Electricity Generation Co. Ltd. named Alstom Power in 2002 to supply the fifth turbine-generator, which is designated Unit 15 because the Kiira plant continues the unit numbering of the nearby 180-MW Nalubaale project. South Africa’s Eskom Enterprises holds a 20-year concession to operate Kiira and Nalubaale.

A Uganda energy official released a paper last month explaining that extreme drought, and not excessive hydropower generation, has caused a major decline in the water level of Lake Victoria, the largest African lake and a source of the Nile River. (HNN 12/19/06) Commissioner Paul Mubiru of Uganda’s Energy Resources Dept. analyzed the water level decline in the face of accusations leveled at Nalubaale and Kiira on Lake Victoria’s outlet, the Victoria Nile River.

Reports had alleged excessive power generation was responsible for 55 percent of the decline in the lake, which has fallen as much as six feet in the past three years. However, Mubiri calculated that outflows from the lake accounted for just under 11 percent of the water lost, compared to 89 percent being lost by evaporation. That, coupled with significantly lower inflows due to drought, led to reduced lake levels, he said.

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