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The First Turbine Lowered at Isimba 183 (MW) HPPThe first turbine unit at the Isimba 183 (MW) hydropower project has been lowered in its position. Another milestone in the development of the flagship hydropower project, the lowering of the turbine signifies one step closer to completion of this project.

The lowering of the unit happened amidst salute and jubilation from other technical members not directly involved in the turbine installation works. For the contractor, it was a nail biting experience that ended all too well!

Isimba 183(MW) HPP shall have four turbines each with an installed capacity of 45.8MW with a total production of 183(MW). Three turbines remain to be lowered and the last one is expected in July, 2018. The turbines were manufactured by ZHEFU CO.LTD from Hangzhou, China. ZHEFU is a renowned and certified hydropower mechanical equipment manufacturer with first class international standards.

The dam’s civil structure has a life span of 100 years and 50-years for the hydro mechanical equipment respectively. The contractor has got a 2-years defects liability period after undertaking of the project. Compared to other dam facilities across Africa, this turbine unit at Isimba was a better deal for the country for its runner shafts are made of stainless steel.

UEGCL maintains that this project is on schedule and will be completed in the coming year 2018.

See more in pictorial THE LOWERING OF THE TURBINE UNIT on 8th DECEMBER 2017


 Photo profile showing the stage two process of river diversion at Isimba Hpp

The Isimba Hydropower project is located north along the River Nile. At Isimba, the river splits into two branches which congregate at Koova Island. Various project structures and components span across the left river channel, Koova Island and on the right river channel correspondingly. This is justified by the fact that the river flows in the northern direction. The Power House, Gravity Dams, and Spillways were constructed on the left river channel which is the largest river channel at the dam site section. Structurally, the dam has the left embankment dam (LED) and the right embankment dam. The LED host’s the switchyard while the RED stretches up to the district of Kamuli. River diversion is the act of diverting a portion of river water from the main course to another natural or man-made channel. The Isimba (HPP) was clustered in two stages of river diversion; in stage one, cofferdams made of earth, stones and boulders were used in the upstream and downstream left river channel to facilitate the construction of the civil structures and the first section of the LED.

In stage two, still, the cofferdams will be established in the right river branch. This will see the water being diverted through the newly constructed spillways which are close to the powerhouse. The spillways consist of five sections; three of which are for the low radial gates (LRG) and the remaining two are for the universal radial gates (URG). These will be installed at an upper level. Likewise, two of the construction gates will be set open. Other activities in this stage will include the dismantling of all cofferdams which were built during stage one. Effectively, this will allow water through the left channel section and through the spillways. This ongoing activity further affirms UEGCL’s (government supervising agent) stand on delivering this project in time.

It was on October 4, 2016, when the Parliamentary committee on Natural Resources last visited the 183MW Isimba hydro power project. One year later, the committee, led by Chairperson, Hon. Alex Byarugaba (MP Isingiro South) returned. Their number lean and with no female member except for a Research assistant, the committee was welcomed by State Minister for Energy Hon. Simon D’ujanga, Project Steering Committee chairperson Eng. Dr. Badru M. Kiggundu , UEGCL CEO Dr. Eng. Harrison E. Mutikanga and Prof. Wang Yongtian, the Project manager China Water and Electric corporation, the contractor.

State Minister for Energy Hon. Simon D’Ujanga, Eng. Dr. Harrison E Mutikanga, Hon. Alex Byarugaba (MP Isingiro South) and chairman-committee on natural resources plus other committee members during the site visit

We have come to check if the previous issues we found like cracks, the integrity of the embankment dam, compensation for some project affected people, the access road to Kamuli, safety for workers and others have been fixed,” Said Hon. Byarugaba.

The committee was appraised on progress of the project so far, the gains and the challenges as well as the sticking issues that will require their support to surmount.

Eng. Kiggundu briefed them on the reason for non-renewal of the contract for Energy Infratech PVT Ltd (the Owner’s Engineer), which expired on September 7th 2017. “You will agree with me that management and specifically project management will often demand taking hard decision and administrative sanction but all this is within good faith and the overriding desire for success,” he said, adding, “History will judge us harshly if we, as the Project Steering Committee or as Ministry of Energy or UEGCL or even you as a concerned committee of Parliament looked on while specifications were altered at a whim, works went shoddy with reckless abandon and timelines negated without restraint at the country’s flagship hydro power projects.”