600MW Karuma dam due for completion in December
February 21—The 600 MW Karuma hydro-electric dam, one of Uganda’s high profile infrastructure projects, will be finished by the end of this year. China Eximbank is providing the bulk of the $2.2 billion costs by way of a loan to the government. The costs include erecting a new transmission line.
According to the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL), who are over-seeing the project, by the end of January 2018, the overall progress of physical works (civil, hydro-mechanical and electrical-mechanical) was about 74% complete.
Construction began almost five years ago, after the government took out a $1.4 billion loan, but there was never any doubt it would a Chinese company to handle the job. The site is about 260 kilometres north of Kampala.
Uganda’s peak power system demand currently stands at 500 MW against an installed generation capacity of about 850 MW with a firm capacity of 496 MW that varies in accordance with the prevailing hydrological conditions.
Officials said concrete works for dam blocks 1 to 16 are practically completed paving way for the installation of spillway sections at blocks 1, 2 and 3. At the intake, work progress is at 95% with concrete casting nearing completion. Installation of Hydro-mechanical equipment for gates at intake block 1 and back filling are the main activities currently on-going.
Deng Changyi the Acting project Manager, Sinohydro Corporation, the project contractor said, “We have registered yet another milestone at Karuma having installed radial gates at the dam section. This installation commenced on the morning of 26th January, 2018. The spillway of the station is designed with 9 radial gates, whose main function is to control orifice flow, undertake blocking main water, and can be opened and closed during flood conditions to prevent overtopping of the dam. Each of these gates has a height of 9metres is 10m wide and weighs 54 tonnes. Despite this huge size and heavy weight, these gates are designed to flip and hold a huge resistance to water pressure. The installation of all the gates was done successfully and within the agreed project timelines.”
To ensure quality is not compromised, a team consisting of UEGCL, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the supervising engineer Energy infratechPyt Limited (EIPL) and the contractor Sinohydro left for China earlier in January to conduct Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) on the project’s equipment. These include; Intake maintenance gates, Outfall maintenance gates, spillway stop logs, Generator Step Up Transformer, Intake trash rack gantry crane among other equipment. Successful completion of these tests will then allow for the equipment to be shipped to the site for installation.