by Ronald Ssekandi,
Zhang Gaiping KAYUNGA, Uganda (Xinhua) --
Inside the power house at Isimba Hydropower Plant
in the central Ugandan district of Kayunga, engineers subject
the first unit of the plant to tests before the official
commissioning slated for late January.
told Xinhua in a recent interview that after the commissioning
of the first unit, they will move onto the second, third and
eventually the fourth.
The four units of the 183 MW Chinese constructed power plant
would be commissioned in a phased manner, according to Xia
Nenghai, General Manager of Uganda Branch, China International
Water and Electric Corporation (CWE). CWE is the EPC contractor
of the project.
Outside the power house, local workers under the supervision
of Chinese technicians put final touches on the structural
"The civil work, the embankment of the dam, and the power
house construction, the installation of the electric, mechanical
equipment have been fully completed," said Xia.
The construction of the 568 million U.S. dollars power plant
located on River Nile, the world’s longest River, started in
2015, after Uganda secured a loan from China Export Import Bank.
Uganda got the loan to address the country’s power shortage,
which economic experts said was stalling economic development.
After commissioning of all the units, the plant will generate
the installed capacity of 183 MW, which is currently about 19
percent of the country’s power generated.
The country generates up to 974.84 MW, which experts say is
inadequate and expensive.
When the Isimba power comes on to the national grid, it is
expected to partly address the shortfall, according to the
Another Chinese funded Karuma Hydropower Plant is being
constructed and is expected to generate 600 MW.
The government anticipates that both the Isimba and Karuma
power will address the country’s power shortage.
At the construction site, the workforce has reduced as most
of the structural works have been completed. What is now
remaining is largely electrical and mechanical works, according
At the peak of the construction, there were over 3,000 local
workers ranging from semi-skilled to skilled.
Most of the youths who worked at the site gained more skills
that they would use even after the project is long completed,
according to Xia.
He said although the power plant is Chinese constructed, it
has an American design as requested by the Ugandan government.
"We want to bring our Chinese knowledge, skills and
management to the Ugandan people so that they can have more
capability to work for their nation in future because we cannot
stay here forever," Xia said.
"In future, Ugandans will build their country by themselves,
with the correct skills," he added.
In communities neighboring the construction site, there is
noticeable change as what was a small trading center has now
Some of the workers from different parts of the country
reside in the Busana trading center.
Xia said most of the employees were recruited from the
community and surrounding districts, which explains the
development in the area.
CWE also renovated a nearby school, Nakakandwa Primary
The company, as part of its corporate social responsibility
gave a new face-lift to the school.