Serengeti Energy is commissioning the Nyamwamba II hydropower plant in Kasese, western Uganda. Connected to Uganda’s national grid, the run-of-river plant has a capacity of 7.8 MW.
Uganda’s installed electricity capacity is increasing by 7.8 MW, thanks to a run-of-river power plant that has just been commissioned by Serengeti Energy, a company based in Nairobi, Kenya, formerly known as responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding (rAREH). The plant is located on the Nyamwamba River in the Kasese district of western Uganda.
Work on the plant started in 2019. The construction site “faced several challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The project development and construction teams and their advisors were up to the task and overcame the challenges to complete the project successfully,” says the company led by Chris Bale. The new facility is located upstream of the 9.2 MW Nyamwamba I hydropower plant, also operated by Serengeti Energy.
22 million investment
The Sri Lankan company Saems Hydro was responsible for the balance of plant and civil works for this hydroelectric project. Austrian company Andritz was responsible for the electromechanical work in collaboration with Zutari, the project engineer. The electricity generated by the run-of-river plant is therefore sold to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL).
The electricity is fed into Uganda’s national grid from the Nkenda substation, which plays a crucial role in supplying various industrial load centres in western Uganda and will be a hub for future electricity exports to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although financial close is expected in the second quarter of 2022, the project required an investment of $22 million.
Financial close in 2022
Serengeti Energy relies on a credit approved in February 2022 by Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a company of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). The project is also supported by the Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF), an initiative of the German Development Agency (KfW) and the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) to mitigate short-term liquidity risks for projects developed by independent power producers (IPPs) in Africa.
According to Serengeti Energy, its Nyamwamba II hydropower plant is capable of providing electricity to 161,000 Ugandan households, creating 25 jobs during the start-up phase and reducing emissions by 18,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.