MORE ELECTRICITY FOR UGANDANS
A small hydro electric power plant, located in the Western Ugandan Kamwenge district – formerly part of Kabarole / Fort Portal district – is being commissioned tomorrow by none other than President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The new facility will add a further 18 MW of power into the national grid and the president like no other knows that performing the ‘switching on ceremony’ will be good for both the nation and his bid for re-election. The power plant, privately owned, is one of several due to come on line this year, and at least three more are set for completion in 2011 with an overall capacity of 20 MW.
Uganda in the past suffered from severe power cuts but the added generation of electricity will undoubtedly help the country in two ways – by not only adding capacity but also adding ‘cheaper’ electricity, since thermal generation with diesel and heavy fuel oil is becoming more and more expensive.
Meanwhile is the construction of the Bujagali plant on the upper Nile valley nearing the point where the overflow channels will be closed for good, expected to take place within this month, at which point rafting, kayaking and river boating across this stretch of white water will cease for good, before eventually the rising waters behind the dam will also start to submerge the rapids right up to the Bujagali Falls proper – the plant itself is several kilometres further downstream in fact. Later this year, when the first turbine is installed, an initial 50MW will flow into the national grid before then gradually the output will be raised when further turbines are commissioned, up to the final projected output of 250 MW.
Over the coming years a second hydro electric plant will be built near the Karuma Falls, which in its final phase of operation may yield as much as 750 MW output and being a tunnel version is likely to have a substantially lesser impact footprint on the hitherto pristine wilderness environment just outside Murchisons Falls National Park, compared with other such facilities. Watch this space.