Construction of 43MW Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant in Rwanda to Begin Soon
The ground-breaking ceremony was held on 21 May 2022 to mark the beginning of construction.
The Rwandan government will be in charge of the project, which will be on River Nyabarongo and help boost the country’s efforts to ensure universal electricity access by 2024. The 43-megawatt plant will be 27 kilometres from the capital Kigali at the junction between the Southern and Northern provinces.
The project, which is estimated to cost US$214 million, will be the first phase of the Nyabarongo II Multipurpose Development Project to help control flooding on the marshland between the Nyabarongo and Akagera rivers.
The Nyabarongo II Multipurpose Development Project will generate 134 megawatts of power, including the 43.5-megawatt Nyabarongo II hydropower plant, 40 megawatts from the Butamwa pump storage power plant, 40 megawatts from the Juru pump storage power plant in Bugesera and 10.5 megawatts from the Lake Sake Outlet Hydropower plant in Ngoma District.
Sinohydro will undertake the construction works on the Nyabarongo II hydropower plant, comprising three 14.5 megawatts units that are due for completion between September 2025 and January 2026. The multipurpose dam would generate power and meet water supply and irrigation needs. It will comprise a 48-metre high, 228-metre-long concrete gravity dam holding an 846-million cubic metre (mcm) reservoir.
The plant is expected to have a 50% minimum guaranteed availability factor in the dry season and overall design availability of 63.7%. Evacuation of power will occur via a 19-kilometre 110-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to be completed by Sinohydro in April 2024.
The project had a financial close in July 2021 but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project initially started in 2013 with a feasibility study by the Korean Water Resources Agency. This was followed in 2015 by a memorandum of understanding signed by Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Sinohydro.
The decision was made to develop the project on a build, operate, and transfer model. In April 2019, the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract was signed between the ministry and Sinohydro. A US$214 million loan agreement followed with the Export-Import Bank of China in February 2020.
The Government has taken measures to protect Nyabarongo catchment around the 28MW Nyabarongo I hydro power plant from flooding, landslides and droughts which affect electricity generation during heavy rain period and cause increasing damage of the catchment. pic.twitter.com/LKYkHJtEpE— Ministry of Infrastructure | Rwanda (@RwandaInfra) June 12, 2020
This plant is part of Kigali’s plan to achieve complete electrification by 2024. Rwanda’s installed electric capacity is 225 megawatts and expected to increase to 514 megawatts by 2024.
The plant is expected to cover about 600 hectares in the Rulindo, Gakenke and Kamonyi districts and is to be completed in three phases. The total time for completion is estimated at 56 months (2027 completion). The project will help tackle the flooding problem in Rwanda.
The Charge d’Affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda, Wang Jiaxin, said, “Every year, floods harm infrastructure and the livelihood of the local people and due to some topographic features, some people do not have access to electricity. So, from this project, we want to turn the flood-stricken lands into arable lands and increase the incidence of electricity, so that more people will get access to electricity and facilitate livelihoods of the local people.”
Top Photo: Existing 28MW Nyabarongo I Hydropower Plant (@RwandaInfra Twitter Handle | Ministry of Infrastructure Rwanda)