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Bujagali dam turbines set to roll

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Bujagali Energy Limited, a consortium behind the Bujagali Dam project, yesterday tested its generation unit which malfunctioned late last year and contributed to delays in commissioning the 250MW project.

With Bujagali’s first installment of 50MW, electricity consumers should expect load-shedding to ease from 12 hours daily to at least eight hours, officials said.

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who witnessed the exercise, however, clarified that the tests had no bearing on the official commissioning of the dam. “We are yet to determine how the official commissioning will be done; whether we will commission the entire 250MW or whether it will be one-by-one. Commonsense demands that we commission it (the 250MW) at a go,” said Mr Mbabazi.

However, just as Bujagali is coming on board, government plans to decommission the remaining Aggreko thermal diesel plant, which would mean that 50MW would be removed from the national grid.

Mr Simon D’Ujanga, the state minister for energy, said in 18 months, demand for electricity, estimated to be 8 per cent annually, would exceed supply, Bujagali’s contribution to the national grid notwithstanding.

As a result, he said government is “aggressively developing other sources of renewable energy.” “We are drilling geo-thermal wells in the Western Rift Valley so as to measure to measure the temperature of the steam for power generation,” said Mr D’Ujanga.

The Bujagali test came on the back of claims by MPs that the project was being ‘baited’ with money to make it complete work before August.

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