The World Bank has given a go- ahead to the 200 MW Karuma Falls hydropower project which is to start construction this year to ease the power shortage in Uganda, local media reported Monday.
The Karuma project stalled until recently when the bank agreed to a simultaneous building of two large dams in Uganda. Extensive studies were submitted to the government for approval.
"Presently, there is an acute shortage of power in Uganda and we believe that the Karuma project is of great importance to this nation. This shortage will continue in the medium term until at least two large hydro-power stations (Karuma and Bujagali) are constructed," said Omulen, chief of the developer Norpak Power Ltd. when visiting the site over the weekend.
The plant will be located about three-km upstream of the Karuma Bridge in northern Uganda and it is expected to consist of four units, each generating 50 MW or 200 MW in total. There is also an option to add another 50-100 MW later.
"The design concept is based on tunneling with an underground power station. This is environmentally sound and the most appropriate technology for this site as opposed to large surface dams," Omulen explained and adding "the only structures on the surface will be the switchyard, roads and buildings.''
Norpak and local residents were optimistic that the government would conclude an agreement in three months so the construction starts.
The power project is expected to be completed in 2009.