China Africa Investment and Development (CAID) has requested for more time to conduct feasibility studies for the construction of Kiba Hydropower Project, implying the development will be behind schedule.
“It is requested that the extension of the permit for an additional six months i.e from January 2019 to July 24, 2019 may please be granted,” CAID wrote to the Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Regulatory Authority on November 21.
Failure to complete the project on time means delayed production of electricity to power the country’s development agenda.
Government on May 27, 2015 signed an MoU with CAID to develop Kiba dam on a build, own, operate and transfer basis.
ChimpReports understands CAID completed its pre-feasibility studies in 2016.
On July 24, 2017, ERA issued a permit for conducting feasibility studies of power generation. The permit was valid for 18 months.
According to CAID’s letter to ERA, the Chinese company says it started work of feasibility study planning, detailed survey and investigations, analysis and preparation of reports immediately after getting the permit.
Some of the companies involved in the feasibility studies include Mituland Company and Geotech solutions.
CAID explained that NEMA and UWA issued the permits on May 29, 2018 and June 1, 2018 respectively to enter the park area for start of survey and investigation works hence the delays.
CAID further cited an “anomaly in survey elevations with respect to pre-feasibility study survey and therefore conducting of review of alternative study which concluded that alternative 3 location is better than alternative 2” hence the delays.
Officials further said due to delayed availability of entry permits from NEMA and UWA, the investigations could only start in June “and our Ugandan associates put additional resources to complete the work expeditiously. We completed all field activities within 5 months after getting permission to enter the park, in spite of additional surveys due to change of project site location.”
Delays on such critical projects can instigate negative effects such as increased costs, loss of productivity and revenue not to mention lawsuits between owners and contractors in case of contract termination.
However, CAID hopes to complete analysis, design and preparation of feasibility report by March 2019.
Electricity access in Uganda is estimated at 22 percent implying that over 30 million Ugandans have no access to electricity.
With an annual average electricity consumption of 80 kWh per capita, this translates into suppressed demand of over 500 MW.
If this demand is un-locked through the new government electricity connection policy (2018-2027) with an annual target of providing 300,000 free on-grid connections, it is likely that the whole of Karuma (600MW) could be exhausted by 2028.
But that would need reasonable investment in the transmission infrastructure to evacuate the electricity.