22 May 2009 Thomas Pearmain Global Insight Daily Analysis
Uganda’s Bujagali hydroelectric power (HEP) project could start generating 50MW from its first unit before the end of next year, as the facility is brought online in a unit-by-unit commissioning programme. Domestic newspaper New Vision reports that the project is 30% complete and Glenn Gaydar, the project director stating that excavation of the entire left channel and construction of the power house had been completed. Work has now started on the spillway and the Bujagali sub-station.
Significance: Construction of the Bujagali HEP got under way in June 2007 and at full capacity it should be able to generate a maximum capacity of 250MW. A control building and machine hall will house the five 50-MW generating units and the project should be fully commissioned in 2011. Bujagali Energy Ltd (BEL), a consortium of the Aga Khan’s Industrial Promotions Services and the U.S.-based company Sithe, is developing the project.
Italy’s Salini Construttori was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction contract and Salini subcontracted Alstom, a French firm, and Fischtner, a German company, to design and execute the works. Currently, low water levels on Lake Victoria and a lack of rainfall have led to predictions that the generation potential of the Bujagali project could fall to 175MW. The project was given the go-ahead by the World Bank, which approved around US$360 million in loans for the project. The cost has now risen to nearly US$800 million, according to estimates.