President Museveni Holds Meetings with Chinese State-Owned Company to Boost Hydropower Projects in Uganda

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has engaged in discussions with a delegation of Chinese investors, led by Yang Yi Xin, Vice President of Sinohydro Corporation Limited. The meeting, held at State House, Entebbe on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, centered on strengthening cooperation in hydropower projects across Uganda.

The main focus of the talks was the proposed construction of a 138 km transmission line, expansion of the Olwiyo and Karuma substations, and the establishment of a new substation. This ambitious endeavor is estimated to cost approximately $180 million and is expected to be completed within a span of two years.

President Museveni expressed his enthusiasm for these initiatives and assured the Chinese investors of the government’s unwavering support.

“I am glad to hear about the Olwiyo-Nimule transmission project. That’s a very good idea if you have got the model of investing,” stated President Museveni.

The discussions also encompassed the Kiba Hydropower Plant, aiming to significantly increase Uganda’s energy capacity. Sinohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company, has already been contracted by the Ugandan government to construct the $1.5 billion Karuma Hydropower station in Kiryandongo District.

Vice President of Sinohydro Corporation Limited, Xin, presented an outline of the project’s scope, timeline, and estimated investment, reaffirming Sinohydro’s commitment to collaborating with the Ugandan government.

“A Power Sales Agreement (PSA) was signed between the governments of South Sudan and Uganda in June 2023, and the Government of Uganda has completed the feasibility study. We have also developed a Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for this project,” noted Xin.

“With our extensive experience, we are very much willing to help develop this project with the required finance if needed. As part of the Karuma Project, Sinohydro/Powerchina has carried out the 379km 400kV/132kV transmission lines, which are Karuma-Kawanda, Karuma-Lira, and Karuma-Olwiyo lines, and also constructed four substations in Karuma, Olwiyo, Kawanda, and Lira.”

Providing updates on the Karuma Hydropower Project’s progress, Lui Kai, Vice President of Power Channel International, showcased successful testing, commissioning, and synchronizing with the national grid. “All three transmission lines and four substations have been tested, commissioned, and put into use by Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) by 26th October 2023,” he stated.

Furthermore, Kai discussed the potential redevelopment of Kilembe Mines, presenting a comprehensive plan that covers financing, exploration, feasibility studies, and infrastructure development.

Another prominent figure in attendance was Jiang Xiaodong, the Power Channel Country Manager, who informed the President that Power China International Group Limited, represented in Uganda by Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, is working closely with the government on the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Project.

“There are still potential business opportunities with the government of Uganda. The identified potential projects are as follows: Operation and Maintenance of the Karuma hydropower project, Redevelopment of Kilembe Mines, 400kV Olwiyo-Nimule transmission line and associated substations, Kiba Hydropower Plant, Upgrade and renovation of Nalubale Hydropower Plant, Upgrade and renovation of 132KV Mutundwe-Kabulaso, Kabulaso-Nkenge Nkenda-Nkenda transmission lines, upgrade of Mutundwe Substation and Kawanda Substation,” Xiaodong added.

The meeting concluded on a positive note, with both sides expressing their commitment to further collaboration. President Museveni reiterated his government’s dedication to promoting investment in the energy sector as Uganda strives for rapid economic development and energy self-sufficiency.

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