Aerial view of the
Bujagali hydropower
project in Uganda
 
Kampala, Uganda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 28 October 2011 – Tests have started and commissioning is underway at the US $860 million Bujagali hydropower project which is scheduled to produce its first electricity for the Ugandan national grid next month.

According to the project developers, the project will reduce the acute power shortages that are being experienced in the east African country. The project was originally expected to be completed in June this year, but was delayed to this month. It is expected to reach its full capacity by April 2012.

“Another 50-megawatt (MW) unit will be commissioned one month later,” said project construction manager Bill Growth. “Most of the civil works are complete. Our major task now is to fine-tune the electro-mechanical processes to ensure that the turbines and other equipment are ready for power generation,” he added.

The new project comes in the wake of acute load-shedding due to a power supply deficit of up to 190MW during evening peak hours, affecting at least 200,000 households across the country.

Electricity Regulatory Authority spokesperson Julius Wandera confirmed that the demand for power was 445MW, but electricity supply was 305MW.

“This has caused 12 to 36 hours of load-shedding depending on the availability of power,” he observed.

To alleviate power supply shortages in the long-term, Uganda has commenced the construction of the 700MW Karuma Hydropower Project.