Sunday, 19th August, 2007
By Ibrahim Kasita
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni and His Highness, The Aga Khan, are to flag off the construction works of the long-awaited Bujagali hydro power project in Jinja tomorrow.
The duo will officiate at the ground-breaking ceremony of the 250 mega watts project expected to address the current power problems.
Delegates from the International Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, The Netherlands’ FMO, French’s Proparco/AFD, Germany’s DEG/KfW and Barclays/ABSA and Standard Chartered banks, the project lenders, will attend.
A joint-venture between Aga Khan’s Industrial Promotion Services and Global Sithe, a US firm, are the project constructors.
Italian firm, Salini is the main project contractor, while Alstom, a French firm, and Fichtner, a German company, are the subcontractors of the project expected to last 44 months to complete.
The Bujagali project is considered an integral component of Uganda’s strategy to close an energy supply gap that constrains social and economic development.
The country is facing acute power shortage after the hydropower generation from the Kiira and Nalubaale power stations dwindled to 140 mega watts from the installed capacity of 380 mega watts.
To mitigate the shortfall, 100 mega watts of thermal energy were procured to drive the economy.
However, thermal generation is thrice expensive as hydropower.
Bujagali project is run-of-the-river hydro-power plant which will re-use water flowing from Nalubaale and Kiira power stations to generate electricity.
The additional electricity will increase the supply to the national grid at the lowest cost compared to other power generation expansion options under Uganda’s energy sector strategy. The project will relieve power shortages and substantially reduce the need for more expensive thermal power.
It has undergone extensive economic, environmental, and social studies, which recommended sufficient mitigating measures to lessen the negative environmental impact.
The Government has also committed to conserve Mabira and Kalagala Falls to preserve environment.