The 44.6 MW facility is expected to go online by 2019
The 44 mega watt (MW) Muzizi Power Dam in Kibale District will finally be a reality soon following the signing of an agreement between the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Agency for French Development under which the two institutions will fund the project to the tune of €70m (about Shs 270 billion).
Muzizi Hydro Power Dam is to be constructed on River Muzizi, a tributary of Lake Albert, for the benefit of communities in the districts of Kibale, Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Ntooroko in western Uganda. The project is being implemented as a public project and under the Mutual Reliance Initiative in partnership with KfW, which is contributing €4 million; and AFD, which is contributing €45 million. The government of Uganda through the Energy Fund will raise the balance of €21 million.
The project was recently officially handed over to the design consultants who will devise a compensation plan for the affected people, do the final designs, prepare tender documents and review feasibility studies, according to Kamal Gautam, the consultants’ team leader.
Harrison Mutekanga, the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL) managing director, said the resettlement plan for the affected people would be conducted in partnership with the government valuer. If everything goes according to plan, the dam should producing power by 2019.
In recent years, the government has been keen to accelerate investments in the energy sector, aiming to generate sufficient electricity to drive economic growth. Uganda currently has an installed electricity generation capacity of just 850 MW. Two large hydro power plants – Karuma and Isimba with a combined generation capacity of 780 MW – are also at various phases of development on the River Nile.
While some are already online, other small dams are also in the pipeline in addition to Muzizi. They include; the 4.3MW Nyagak III (2018) and the 16MW Kikagati power station (2016) among others. The intention is that these dams, which are seen to be cheaper than other alternative sources of power, is to support local production especially of small and medium factories for value addition, but they are also seen as an impetus to higher levels of employment for the local population more especially the youth, better health services and education. They also intended to reduce pressure on the national grid on top of improving the standard of living for those rural communities.
Currently, the government almost entirely relies on the recently launched $900m Bujagali plant-with a generation capacity of 250MW, the 200MW Kiira Power Station and the 180MW Nalubaale Power Stations to generate power whose demand is said to be growing at the rate of about 30% annually.