In a remarkable turn-around, construction at the 80MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, which is managed by NELSAP-CU on behalf of the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, inched closer to completion, progressing to 93 % in May 2022 from 83% in December 2021. While visiting the project on 22nd April 2022, the Rwanda minister for Infrastructure Hon. Dr. Ernest Nsabimana expressed his appreciation of the progress of construction and underscored importance of the project to the three countries.
Earlier, in his progress update, the new Project Manager Eng. Alloyce Oduor, who took over from Eng. Darren Protulipac on 20th December 2021 stated; “Works at the dam, spillway and power intake areas are progressing well and the spillway gate will be commissioned soon. At the power house, the concrete placement works is complete around the penstocks and at entrance of the powerhouse and around water passage steel.”
Eng. Oduor further explained that one of the most important works, Headrace Tunnel (HRT), which is a 700 metre long underground tunnel that channels water from the river into the power house, has been fully excavated and works to provide it with complete concrete lining was almost complete, with only 42 metres remaining as of April 2022 and this was to be concluded by June 2022.
Eng. Oduor said that work on the three spillway gates are complete and water is currently freely flowing through the open spillway gates and through the hollow sill dyke. He added that the civil contractor was preparing to handover the switchyard control room building to the electro-mechanical contractor for key installations to be done. The electro-mechanical contractor, on the other hand, was installing the turbines and main generator equipment as well as powerhouse support structures and equipment.
“Civil works are almost done (were at 95% by May 2022). NELSAP Project Implementation Unit is following up implementation of mechanical and electrical work which are 90% complete. The consultant advising NELSAP and RPCL on the modalities of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to be implemented with power utilities from the three countries is on the ground and will complete work by August 2022,” Eng Oduor explained.
Early April 2022, a team from the World Bank Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR) Project, led by Shyam KC, Dr. Anders Jägerskog, Dr. Yukio Tanaka, and Kimberly Lyon visit the Rusumo Project. With them was the Regional Coordinator of NELSAP Dr. Eng. Isaac Alukwe. The World Bank team expressed appreciation of the Rusumo progress and noted that NELSAP has the capacity to supervise development of large scale water storage as well as power projects in the basin.
About the 80MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP)
The Governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania agreed to build a joint power development project and established the Rusumo Power Company Limited (RPCL). The primary objective of RPCL was constructing the 80MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project on the Kagera River at Rusumo border between Rwanda and Tanzania. Energy from it will be shared equitably among the three countries.
The Rusumo Power Company, RPCL delegated and authorized the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) to implement the 80MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP) with USD 340 million funding from the World Bank for its construction, including implementation of Local Area Development projects (LADP). The African Development Bank (AfDB) provided USD 120 million for the Rusumo substation and transmission lines to evacuate power to the grids of the three countries.
NELSAP presently oversees all aspects of this construction and has a fully-fledged Project Implementation Unit on site to manage day to day operations. NELSAP and RPCL report to project Council of Ministers (CoM) composed of ministers responsible for energy affairs of the three countries.