Developer-investor sought for East Africa’s 145-MW Ruzizi 3

The energy agency of the Great Lakes countries invites applications for pre-qualification from developer-investors to build the 145-MW Ruzizi 3 hydroelectric project and to manage it and three other existing and proposed projects on the Ruzizi River in East Africa.

Energie des Grands Lacs (EGL) issued an invitation for pre-qualification on its Internet site on February 25, but did not announce a deadline for pre-qualification.

EGL recruited consultants in January to advise it on developing Ruzizi 3. The project is to be built on the Ruzizi between Lake Kivu and Lake Tanganyika on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The project is to provide electricity to DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi under concession contracts of at least 20 years.

The European Union and European Investment Bank provided financing for a feasibility study, environmental impact assessment, and project development strategy. Technical studies have been performed by Fichtner of Germany, while SOFRECO of France assisted EGL with institutional and financial structuring of the estimated US$450 million project.

A project developer-investor is to be selected by bidding from a pool of pre-qualified applicants. At least half of project financing is to come from development institutions, with the remainder to come from the developer-investor.

In addition to developing the project, the developer-investor is to manage the Ruzizi River cascade on a concession basis. Existing projects on the Ruzizi are 29.8-MW Ruzizi 1 operated by the DRC’s SNEL and 43.8-MW Ruzizi 2 operated by DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi’s SINELAC. A pre-feasibility study recently was performed for a 287-MW Ruzizi 4 project.

Applications for pre-qualification are to be submitted in accordance with criteria and procedures set out in a pre-qualification document EGL said it would make available on its project Internet site, http://egl-echanges-energetiques.net/ruzizi-iii, or from Energie des Grands Lacs, Prof. Pierre Muzyumba Mwanahembe, General Manager EGL, Boulevard de l’Uprona, B.P. 1912 Bujumbura, Burundi; (257) 22-225504; E-mail: mwanahembe@yahoo.fr.

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