Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station – Location, Developments, Construction

Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station – Location, Developments, Construction

Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station, alias Rusumo Power Station is a power plant for hydroelectricity under construction initially planned to produce 80 megawatts (110,000 hp) on completion. The project is to include dam construction with a run-off river design.

At first, a more costly 90 megawatts (120,000 horsepower) design for the reservoir was considered before it was abandoned to opt for an 80 megawatts project having a less significant impact on the environment with an estimated budget of US$300 million instead of a US$400 million project.

The World Bank (WB) revealed on 6 August 2013 approving loans worth US$340 million of the US$468.60 million required for the Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station project. By November 2013, the African Development Bank (ADB) agreed to give a loan worth US$113 million to complete the project.

Location of the project is Rusumo, which is known as a border town because it is shared as both Rusumo Tanzania and Rusumo Rwanda. Around the area, there is the famous Rusumo bridge which is cutting through the Kagera river that joins both Tanzania and Rwanda.

Location of the Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station

The Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station is on the Kagera River, on the country’s border (Rusumo border) with Rwanda  andTanzania . It is about 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) downstream, where both countries meet Burundi. The plant is at Rusumo Falls, neighbouring Rusumo town, about 164.5 kilometres (102.2 miles – distance from Rusumo to Kigali / Kigali to Rusumo), by road, in Kigali’s southeast, Rwanda’s capital and biggest city.

Rusumo Falls is about 61 kilometres (38 miles), by road, in the southeast of the Kabungo provincial headquarters in Ngoma District. The Power station’s estimated coordinates are: 02°22’47.0″South, 30°47’09.0″East ( Longitude:30.785833; Latitude:-2.379722;).

Other Rusumo Falls Hydropower Project Considerations

Power from the station is for sharing equally between Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda. The power generated was to come from the generation plant through 220-kilovolt transmission cables to transmission stations in Kigali, Rwanda, 115 kilometres (71 miles); Nyakanazi, Tanzania, 98 kilometres (61 miles) and Gitega, Burundi,158 kilometres (98 miles).

Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station Current Developments

By November 2016, Tanzania signed two contracts with Rwanda paving the way for the power station construction. Rusumo Power Company Limited signed the first contract with a consortium of contractors, including a joint venture between Jiangxi Water & Hydropower Construction Company Limited and CGCOC Group Limited. The agreement was for undertaking civil works, including supplying and installing hydro-mechanical equipment.

Rusumo Power Company Limited signed the second contract with Germany’s Rusumo Falls Andritz Hydro GmbH and India’s Andritz Hydro PVT Limited to perform electrical and mechanical power generation.

By November 2016, the budget for the Rusumo falls hydroelectric project was $340 million, with the WB as the funder. The funding for three high voltage lines for transmitting the power generated was $121 million, with financing from the ADB. Construction was planned to start by January 2017.

Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station Construction

Cranes and other machinery in the middle of construction of Rusumo
Cranes and other machinery in the middle of construction of Rusumo

On 30 March 2017 was the ground-breaking ceremony at Ngara, in Tanzania. All three beneficiary countries had officials from their governments in attendance, including East African Community members representatives. Rusumo Power Company Limited (RPCL), a special purpose vehicle company, owns the power station. The three beneficiary countries own RPCL.

Two contractors were responsible for the Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station project. Civil works were given to the joint venture between Jiangxi Water & Hydropower Construction Company Ltd and CGCOC Group. Electro-mechanical works were given to ANDRITZ Hydro from India and Germany.

The Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP-CU)’s coordination unit was responsible for project implementation on behalf of the three countries. Completion and the commercial launch was expected by 2020.

By February 2019, construction on the Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station project was estimated at 35 percent, with 59 percent by January 2020, although completion was still expected by 2020.

By April 2021, completion of the Rusumo hydropower project was expected in 2022, while one of the three power-generating units was expected online by the fourth quarter of 2021.

By June 2021, work completed was at 80 percent, with commercial launching anticipated in December 2021.

According to audits from the Auditor-Generals of all three beneficiary countries, done during the second half of 2021, there was a 22 percent increase in costs, going above the budget for the work plan. By this time, completed work was projected at 81 percent. Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station project completion is now expected in the second half of 2023.

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