CONSTRUCTION work on the 28 MW Nyabarongo hydro-power plant, the biggest Rwanda will have once completed, is progressing, a Ministry of Infrastructure official has said,
Eng. Leonard B. Kassana, a Hydropower Consultant in the Ministry of Infrastructure, told The New Times that so far, five percent of the construction work has been done.
This comes 21 months after a foundation stone was laid at Bijyojyo Hill in Ndaro Sector, Ngororero District, Western Province.
“The preparatory works include excavation of a diversion tunnel, preparation of abutments for the steel bridge over River Nyabarongo, construction and improvement of access road, construction of guest house, labour colonies (workers camp), water treatment plant and dispensary block,” Kassana revealed.
“Part of the main civil works has begun, including Powerhouse & Switchyard Platform excavations. The River Diversion Tunnel had progressed by 41 metres by the end of August 2010.”
The River Diversion Tunnel is expected to be finished by end of this year. The project has a construction period of 45 months and is largely financed by the Indian government through a US$80 million soft loan to be refunded in 20 years, while the government of Rwanda has injected in US$17.7 million.
Under a contract signed in July 2008, and effective May 20, 2009, the project is being executed by a consortium of two experienced Indian companies; Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Angelique International Ltd (AIL).
The whole project is managed by RSW International, a Canadian-based hydroelectric power consultancy company.
Almost four billion Rwandan francs will be required to relocate about 4,200 people from the valleys of the river in Ngororero, Karongi and Muhanga districts in preparation for the project to be executed.
Government is on course to increase electricity coverage to 16 percent by 2012. Currently, only 5% of Rwanda’s population has access to electricity, but the government has set the target of 16% by 2012 and 35% - 40% in 2020. To achieve this, the government has also focused on other kinds of energy.