After several months of a lull, concreting works have resumed at the 600MW Karuma Hydropower project. The stoppage was as result of identified cracking in the dam section of the project, leading to a halt in works to examine the probable causes and definitive remedies.The Government implementing agency for the Karuma project, Uganda Electricity Generation Company, UEGCL, as well as the contractor Sinohydro Corporation from China partnered in finding teams of experts, both local and international to get a solution to this glitch. Key inputs from the experts included reducing the temperature of the concrete during placement as well as improvement on the placement methods, which demanded the use of agitator trucks. A cooling plant has since been installed on site to ensure concrete is placed at 20 degrees Celsius.
Having rectified the cracks on the dam section, concreting works in the Power House section began early this year using the prescribed concreting methods. Currently, the contractor, Sinohydro, has completed over 95% of the tunneling excavation and is currently concreting the tunnel. Karuma Hydro Power station shall include an underground section containing the Power House, Surge Chamber, Transformer tavern, inlet and tailrace tunnels. The USD 1.7 Billion (approximately Ugx…) is expected to be commissioned in December 2018. So far, the project is at slightly over 50% completion.
“This is a massive achievement in very difficult conditions and shows the seriousness of Sinohydro Corporation to deliver this critical project”, says Mr Deng Changyi, the Acting Project Manager.
According to Mr Dengserious efforts have also been made to increase local content by having in place local purchase agreement with Kampala Cement, Hima Cement as well as purchase of Steel products from Roofings Limited. It should be noted that over 4000 Ugandans are currently employed by the project.
Six Turbines with an installed capacity of 100 MW are currently being assembled off-shore by French Multinational Power generation equipment manufacturer Alstom. These are expected to be delivered and installed mid this year.
Beyond the civil and electro-mechanical component of the Karuma Hydro Power Project, Sinohydro shall – as part of its corporate SocialResponsibility – construct two hospitals and two schools in the adjoining project areas of Oyam and Kiryandongo districts. “So far we have managed to secure the land for these CSR initiatives and the contractor’s team is on ground making the requisite preliminary assessments before commencement of construction,” Said Simon Kasyate, Manager- Corporate Affairs UEGCL, adding that the CSR component is part of the Project contract.
The progress of works on the Karuma project have been appreciated so far, by the Eng. Badru Kiggundu led Project Steering Committee PSC. President Yoweri Museveni, last year, constituted the committee to carry out oversight supervision of the Karuma Hydro Power Project. It comprises among others, Permanent secretaries of the Ministries of Finance and Energy, the Solicitor General, as well as the Chief executives of UEGCL and Uganda ElectricityTransmissionCompanyLimited.
“We have all hands on Deck, marshalling the government implementation agency UEGCL, the contractor Sino Hydro and the supervisor to ensure a seamless execution of the project,” Said Eng. Kiggundu. He added that his committee is keen to have the contractor deliver on quality assurance as well as meeting of timelines.
“With this renewed commitment from Sinohydro and the remedial action so far taken to make right what had previously gone wrong, we are now confident that this project shall be delivered in Time, within Budget and to agreed technical specifications,” added Eng. Harrison Mutikanga, CEO UEGCL.
According to government vision 2020, the Karuma project is one of the major infrastructure projects expected to contribute immensely to Uganda’s quest for middle income status through reliable and affordable electricity.