Uganda is set to unveil the 183.2MW Isimba dam. Located in Kamulu district and built on the White Nile in a few months, the dam is considered to be the fourth biggest hydropower project in Uganda.
It is expected to generate hydroelectric power at 68 cents per kWh, arguably the lowest in East Africa.
The project which has been under construction for since 2013, was expected to top out by the end of 2017 but technical setbacks prevailed leading to extensions in the project’s timeline. For instance, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) had to get new engineers to solve cracks on the embankment dam.
Once complete, the project is expected to generate 1,039GWh of electricity a year, boosting Uganda’s total capacity by 23% in addition to creating jobs. The dam is built on an area of approximately 2,867.6 acres of land.
The project is estimated to cost $570m, with an 85% debt financing from the China Export-Import Bank. In March 2015, the Parliament of Uganda also approved $482.5m loan from the Exim Bank.
Isimba dam’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract worth $568m was awarded China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) with Energy Infratech as the supervision consultant for the project.
The 183.2 MW Isimba Hydropower Project will have four turbines each with an installed capacity of 45.8MW. All the turbines were already in place by August, 2018.
The dam and the hydro-mechanical equipment have a structural life span of 100 years and 50-years respectively while the contractor will have a 2-year defect liability period after undertaking of the project. Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) is keen to finalize the project before the end of the year.
The project is one of the most important power projects the Ugandan government has initiated in recent years. The World Bank estimates that sub-Saharan Africa suffers the sharpest deficit in electricity yet only 10% of its hydro-electric power potential has been exploited, leaving 90%.