At the inauguration ceremony President Museveni said: “The construction and completion of Isimba gives confidence to investors that Uganda has adequate and reliable electricity”.
As well as providing much needed additional power supply for the East African state, the commissioning of the fifth hydropower plant on the upstream section of the Nile running from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyoga, will also help reduce the cost of electricity for consumers, officials stressed. Uganda Electricity Generation Company (UECGL), the state-owned power producer, and owner-operator of the newly-commissioned plant, said it will sell the electricity it generates at Isimba at about US$ 0.05/kWh compared with US$ 0.08 for power sold from the upstream Bujagali hydropower plant.
The low-head, run-of-river plant was built by China International Water and Electric Company (CWE) under an EPC contract on behalf of the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD). The facility and associated transmission network have been built over six years at a cost of about US$ 590 million. The plant was 85 per cent financed by the Export-Import Bank of China, with the balance covered by the Government of Uganda. France’s Artelia in association with KKATT Consult Uganda supervised the construction work as owner’s engineer. The plant, which is equipped with four 45.8 MW Kaplan turbines, is designed to generate average annual output of 1062 GWh. The project, which extends over approximately 1160 ha of land, comprises a zoned rockfill dam with central clay core with a height of 15.1 m, a spillway, a powerhouse, and associated transmission infrastructure, including a 132-kV switchyard and 41 km of transmission lines.