Eskom Uganda to rehabilitate Kiira hydropower plant at a cost US$1.4m

UGANDA – Eskom Uganda, the subsidiary of South African energy utility Eskom, will invest US$1.4 million in the rehabilitation of the 200 MW Kiira hydropower plant.

The project will be implemented by the Austrian company Andritz Hydro and the Austrian company will supply and install the new equipment, which will have a life cycle of 15 years. 

The operations initiated by Eskom Uganda are aimed at upgrading the regulator in units 14 and 15 of the Kiira hydropower plant, located just outside the town of Jinja in the Eastern Region of Uganda.

The governor system is the main turbine controller in a hydropower plant and it varies the flow of water through the turbine while controlling its speed and power output.

The aging electronic control system was installed in 2007 by the German company Siemen and according to Eskom, the new equipment not only provides state-of-the-art technology, but has also been designed to improve the efficiency and reliability of the units.

“This is a new investment in the Kiira power station, in line with Eskom’s mandate to maintain and operate the Kiira and Nalubaale power stations,” said Thozama Gangi, Eskom Uganda’s managing director.

“This is a new investment in the Kiira power station, in line with Eskom’s mandate to maintain and operate the Kiira and Nalubaale power stations” 

Thozama Gangi – Managing Director, Eskom Uganda

The Kiira hydropower plant operates from the Owen Falls Dam on the White Nile between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga.

 The plant was built in the early 2000s and consists of five Francis turbines, each with a capacity of 40 MW, for a total capacity of 200 MW.

In 2003, Eskom, which had just set up a subsidiary in Uganda, was awarded the concession to operate,

According to Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority, the country’s electricity sub-Sector has grown from Three (3) Generation Plants in 2001 to over 40 Plants and is still growing.

The Total Installed Generation Capacity has grown from 60 MW in 1954, 400 MW in 2000 to 1237.49 MW as of October 2020 and this capacity is expected to rise to 1837.49 MW by mid-2021.

Uganda’s largest hydroelectric power plant is the 250 MW Bujagali plant, which was commissioned in 2012 and almost doubled Uganda’s installed capacity at the time.

It is operated by a public-private partnership between the Government of Uganda, investment firm Blackstone, Sithe Global Power and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.

The country is under pressure to find additional energy sources, as electricity demand is growing at an annual rate of 10-12%. It also intends to achieve a rural electrification rate of 22% by 2022.

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