Uganda president pushes for development of 250-MW Karuma

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said September 13 that work must begin soon on the 250-MW Karuma hydroelectric project on the Nile River.

During a visit from World Bank officials, Museveni said the government will accept no delays in increasing the supply of electricity to Uganda’s grid. He said work must begin soon on Karuma in order to stay ahead of electricity demand.

A statement from the president’s office said visiting World Bank Country Director John Murray McIntire told Museveni the bank would cooperate with the Uganda government on the hydropower scheme, the construction of roads, and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

Earlier this year, Uganda Energy Minister Simon D’Ujanga said construction is to begin in early 2008 on Karuma. (HNN 5/15/07) D’Ujanga said, because of its simpler design, the US$450 million project is to be built in only three years, going on line in 2011.

The government announced in late 2006 that it would seek bids for planning and construction of Karuma. The government is working with Norpak Power Ltd. of Norway as strategic investor.

Karuma is to be built as a run-of-river project, with no regulation of river flow. The project is to include a new substation at Olwinyo and transmission lines linking the hydro plant to the Kawanda substation near Kampala and the 132-kilovolt grid system at Lira substation.

Government to seek loans to complete Bujagali interconnection

Uganda officials formally marked the beginning of construction in August of the 250-MW Bujagali hydroelectric project on the Victoria Nile River. (HNN 9/14/07) Scheduled for completion by 2011, Bujagali is expected to reduce the average cost of Uganda’s electricity by 10 percent and bring an end to load shedding.

Uganda’s New Vision reported September 13 that the government needs another US$75 million to build the Bujagali Interconnection Project, a 100-kilometer transmission line to link with Uganda’s grid. It said Finance Minister Fred Omach asked Parliament to allow the government to borrow US$28 million from the African Development Bank and another US$28 million from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

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