Bujagali (O&M) hydraulic power plant
Up to 2012, Uganda had some 400 MW of installed electrical power capacity and an electrification rate of 10%. In addition, the country also suffered from daily power cuts of up to 12 hours in a row.
To remedy this situation, the Ugandan government promoted the construction of a private hydroelectric power station on a BOOT (Build, Operate, Own and Transfer) basis, backed by the World Bank.
Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL) was the successful tender in the invitation to tender issued by the Ugandan government to choose the project’s concessionaire. The invitation to tender ended with a “Full O&M” contract between BEL, the plant owner, and Operation and Maintenance Energy Uganda, Ltd. (OMEUL), a subsidiary of O&M Energy, signed in May 2011, which includes a 12-month pre-operational period and provided for 11 years of commercial operation.
The Bujagali Hydropower Plant began operating in 2012. Five large-capacity turbines use water from the Upper Nile to produce 250 MW of electricity.
To ensure the stable running and performance of the station’s operational and maintenance activities, the project’s partners issued a restricted invitation to tender with high technical and economic requirements. The invitation to tender ended with a contract between BEL, the plant’s owner, and Operations and Maintenance Energy (O&M Energy), the turnkey operator, signed in May 2011, which included a 12-month pre-operational period and provided for 11 years of commercial operation.
O&M Energy embarked on the project’s pre-operations by applying its proven deployment methods in new countries. This included mobilising key staff (Power Plant Manager, Operations Manager and Maintenance Manager) and selecting and training 40 Ugandan professionals, initiatives that contributed towards the social development of the local community and which were implemented under the framework of a social responsibility programme based on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a pioneer in these types of projects.
In 2012, during the first year of commercial operations, the OMEUL management achieved downtime indexes of under 0.8%, considerably outperforming the contractual obligations.
Achwa (O&M) hydraulic power plant
Located on the river Achwa, in Gulu, and known as Achwa II, the power plant belongs to ARPE Limited (Achwa River PAC Energy), a company owned by Berkely Energy, and is fitted with innovative technology that filters out river-swept waste in advance to prevent damage. It has an installed capacity of 42 MW and the energy it produces is sent to the national grid to supply some 35,000 people.
The invitation to tender issued by ARPE for the plant’s Operation and Maintenance was finally won by Operation and Maintenance Energy Uganda, Ltd (OMEUL), and represents a further example of the support being given by the Uganda government to foreign investor to promote renewable energies. The commissioning of new hydro-power plants such as Achwa II will certainly make a contribution to replacing coal and wood as more popular sources of energy, while avoiding deforestation and helping to improve the low quality of the air.