Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station
|Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station|
Map of Uganda showing the location of Karuma Falls
|Construction cost||US$2.2 billion|
|Dam and spillways|
|Normal elevation||1,000 m (3,300 ft)|
|Commission date||2018 (expected)|
|Turbines||6 x 100 MW (Francis)|
|Installed capacity||(planned) 600 MW (800,000 hp)|
The Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station is a 600 megawatts (800,000 hp) hydroelectric power project under construction in Uganda. When completed, it will be the largest power-generating installation in the country.
The power station is located at Karuma Falls on the Victoria Nile, at the present location of the Karuma Falls. This location is approximately 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) upstream of where the Masindi-Gulu Highway crosses the Nile. By road, it is approximately 97 kilometres (60 mi) northeast of Masindi and 77 kilometres (48 mi) south of Gulu.
As far back as 1995, the government of Uganda planned to construct a hydropower station at the site of the Karuma Falls. Initially, Norpak, a Norwegian energy company, was awarded the contract to perform the feasibility study and the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the dam. The World Bank promised to make a loan available to pay for the construction. The feasibility study report was made available in October 2006. Bids for construction of the project went out in November 2006. Initially, the plan was to build a 200-250 megawatt power station.
In 2009, the plans were redrawn, calling for a much larger project of 750 megawatts. Sometime during 2009, Norpak pulled out of the negotiations with the Ugandan government, citing the Global Recession of 2008 to 2012.
The Ugandan government then contracted with Energy Infratech Private Limited to perform a new feasibility study and a new EIA, given that a larger power station was now being planned. At that time, construction was expected to start in 2012 and last six years.
In July 2011, media reports indicated that the maximum capacity of the project had been scaled back to 600 megawatts from 750 megawatts. Some international development partners wanted to scale back even further, to a maximum capacity of 400 to 450 megawatts.
In January 2011, Energy Infratech Private Limited, the Indian company contracted to perform the feasibility study for the project, said the estimated total cost for the dam and power plant was approximately US $2.2 billion. That figure included the cost needed to build a transmission line from Karuma to a location where the power will be integrated into the national power grid.
The power generated will be transmitted via high voltage wires to three substations as follows: (a) a 264 kilometres (164 mi) 440 kilovolt line to Kawanda UETCL Substation in Wakiso District (b) 80 kilometres (50 mi) 132 kilovolt line to Lira and (c) a 60 kilometres (37 mi) 440 kilovolt line to a substation in Olwiyo, Nwoya District. The construction costs for the high voltage transmission lines are estimated at US$250 million. In June 2013, the Ugandan government awarded the construction contract to Sinohydro, a Chinese construction company. Work began in the second half of 2013 and is expected to last five years. Construction costs will be jointly funded by the Ugandan and Chinese governments. In June 2014, the Chinese Exim Bank committed in writing to fund 85 percent of the construction costs, in the form of a concessionary loan repayable in five years. The Ugandan government will fund the remaining 15 percent of the cost.
In March 2015, the Ugandan Parliament assented to two loans totalling US$1.435 billion, from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China, for the construction of the power station. Of that amount, US$789.3 million will be loaned at 2 percent per annum, repayable over 20 years, while US$645.82 million will attract 4 percent interest, payable over 15 years, effective the day the dam is fully commissioned. Uganda has already invested US$253.26 million to start the construction. That brings the total funds committed to the project as, of March 2015, to US $1,688,380,000.
The construction of the dam and power station officially started on 12 August 2013. In March 2015, Sinohydro, the lead contractor on the project, contracted with Alstom to provide equipment and technical services to the power station, in a deal worth US$65 million. The equipment includes six 100 megawatt Francis turbines and related equipment. At the peak of construction, it is expected that a total of 2,500 casual and permanent workers will be hired. The power station is expected to be commissioned in 2018.
As of March 2016, about 30 percent of the work had been completed. In October 2016, it was estimated that about 1,000 Chinese nationals and about 5,000 Ugandans were working at the power station.
Photos and diagrams
- Photo of Karuma Falls at Gorillatales.com
- Preliminary Work at Construction Site (From Monitor.co.ug)
- Work In Progress
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