Wider Sector Interventions
Planned and ongoing grid investments by development partners in the wider power sector will be important for the effective grid integration of selected GET FiT projects. Key among these are the Nkenda substation upgrade and the Mbale – Bulambuli 132 kV transmission line whose status update is summarised below. Aside from the investments presented below, the ongoing implementation of the Nkenda – Hoima 220 kV line, financed by the Governments of Norway and France, will further strengthen the national grid in Western Uganda and stabilise the performance and evacuation of several GET FiT projects in this area. Additionally, the planned 132 kV transmission grid extensions from Lira to Arua, funded by the World Bank, and Gulu to Agago, funded by the German Government, will strengthen the national grid in the Eastern and Northern regions.
The World Bank has committed to fund the upgrade of the Nkenda substation from the current transformation capacity of 40 MVA to 120 MVA at an estimated budget of MUSD 16. Given that six GET FiT projects with a combined maximum capacity of 48 MW will be evacuated through Nkenda after commissioning, between 2017 and 2019, the upgrade should ideally be ready within that time frame. However, according to estimates by UETCL, the implementation of the substation works will not be completed before 2020, which presents a risk of deemed energy to the GoU.
A consultant, AF Consult, was procured to prepare detailed designs and prepare tender documents for the EPC contractor. ERA and the System Planning Coordination Committee (SPCC) are currently discussing interim measures to ensure that the power plants are adequately evacuated when commissioned.
Mbale – Bulambuli Transmission Line
The Mbale – Bulambuli transmission line will be important for the grid integration of the Siti I and II SHPs, as well as a host of other small hydropower projects in the Mountain Elgon area. The financing of the line will be provided by Germany through KfW at an estimated total budget of MUSD 40. EU ITF through KfW financed the feasibility study which was undertaken by Lahmeyer and completed in December 2017. EU ITF through KfW finances the feasibility study which is undertaken by Lahmeyer and will be completed in April 2018. The line is not expected to be completed before 2021.
In order to evacuate the 16 MW Siti II SHP, expected to commission in Q3 2018, ERA has approved the implementation of an interim 33 kV line from the project to Mbale substation. The line implementation will be led by Umeme which has undertaken field surveys and prepared a detailed cost estimate for the required works. The objective is to have the line ready in time for the Siti II SHP COD in August 2018.