Uganda regulator advances small hydro project filings

Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) is considering applications to license several small hydro projects as well as applications to increase tariffs for small plants faced with increasing construction costs.

ZIBA Ltd. of Uganda has applied for a license to generate and sell electricity to the national grid from the 8.3-MW Kyambura hydroelectric project proposed for the Kyambura River in Uganda’s Bushenyi District. The run-of-river project would include a 20-meter-tall and 100-meter-wide dam, an underground power station containing two Pelton turbine-generators, a two-kilometer headrace tunnel, and a 0.6-kilometer tailrace canal.

South Asia Energy Management Systems Inc. (SAEMS) of the United States has applied for a license to generate and sell electricity to the national grid from the 8-MW Kilembe Mines hydropower project (also called Kilambe) proposed for the Nyamwamba River in Uganda’s Kasese District. The run-of-river project would include a small weir just downstream of a diversion for service water at Kilembe Copper Mine. It would divert water through a 100-meter channel to a forebay tank and 3,200-meter steel penstock to a powerhouse on the Kasese-Kilembe road.

SAEMS said it is developing the Kilembe Mines project concurrently with another run-of-river project called Mitaro. It estimated construction would require 24 months after receiving permits and a power purchase agreement. Transmission lines are to be built to connect with the nearest 33-kilovolt distribution lines.

ERA is taking comments on both the Kyambura and Kilembe Mines applications until 4 p.m. November 10, addressed to Secretary, Electricity Regulatory Authority, ERA House, Plot 15, Shimoni Road, Nakasero, Kampala.

An SAEMS subsidiary, Africa EMS Mpanga Ltd., is asking ERA for permission to increase the electricity tariff for the 18-MW Mpanga project to be built on the Mpanga River in Kamwenge District.

Africa EMS seeks a 25 percent increase in the rate of its power purchase agreement with Uganda Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. (UETCL) due to cost escalations of up to 25 percent for the project, which had been estimated to cost US$10.9 million in January 2007. Implementing protection of an endangered species of Cycads will cost another US$2 million, the firm said.

Similarly, Eco-Power Uganda Ltd. of Uganda has requested a tariff increase for the 6.5-MW Ishasha project to be built on the Ishasha River in Kanungu District. Eco-Power cited escalating construction costs for a requested amendment to its power purchase agreement with UETCL.

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