With the Uganda Electricity Generation Company (UEGCL) on track for the completion of Isimba and Karuma dams — two of the country’s most ambitious energy projects expected to double the power output, Uganda has Friday signed an agreement worth €1.5 million (Ushs 6.5 billion) smaller for hydropower projects.with France through the French Development Agency.
The historical deal signed by the French ambassador in Uganda Stephanie Rivoal UEGCL executive director Eng. Harrison Mutikanga and Finance minister Hon. Matia Kasaija will see to the development of West Nile’s small hydropower projects of Okulacere and Agbinika.
“As UEGCL, we are grateful to French Development Agency for accepting to provide us grant financing for feasibility studies,” Eng. Mutikanga said adding, “There are many hydro projects and there is need to build local capacity. We are now focusing on cost-effective development and affordability which will turn spiral sustainable development.”
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija added that Uganda is on the path of industrialization, however, can’t industrialize without power hence the need to develop small hydropower stations.
Eng. Mutikanga also revealed that part of this fund grant shall be used to undertake the review and update of previous studies on the rehabilitation and upgrade of a 6.5 megawatts Maziba mini hydro power station under construction, Kabale District on the Kiruruma river, which flows from Rwanda, into Uganda and back to Rwanda. It has three hydro-turbines.
According to UEGCL, up to $2.5m (approximately Shs 8.7bn) is needed to rehabilitate and upgrade the power station. UEGCL said it is working with a number of development partners to get the financing. The station is expected to be up and running by 2018/19.
In 1975, Maziba mini hydro station was shut down due to floods. In 1992, it was re-commissioned after being revamped. Due to operational challenges, the station stopped operations in 2002.