Construction of US $340m Rusumo Hydroelectric Project located at the border of Rwanda and Tanzania is 47% complete. The declaration was made by Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure, Amb. Claver Gatete and Tanzanian Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, during a visit on the project site.
“We have seen that the works on the dam are at a good progress, when compared to how it was last time, and at a tunnel that will lead the water to turbines, we have seen that they have managed to overcome the challenges that had occurred, and the basic works on the powerhouse have already been finished; the electro-mechanical activities are going to start,” said Claver Gatete.
Rusumo Hydroelectric plant
The construction contract was awarded to Chinese firm CGCOC Group Ltd – Jiangxi Water & Hydropower Construction Company Ltd Joint Venture. The hydro power features a run-of-the-river design that eliminates the need for constructing a reservoir while minimizing social and environmental impacts.
There will also be a concrete gated dam with a height of 12m and a spillway structure with three water passages. The passages will be equipped with three radial gates and a two-lane road will be built on top of the dam. Water intake and the head race tunnel of the plant will be 11m-wide and 14m-high with a shotcrete and rock bolts support system.
A concrete-lined vertical surge shaft with an 8m diameter and a surge chamber with a diameter of 41m will also be constructed. The power house of the plant will have three vertical axis Kaplan turbines and three 30MW generators with 12kV output voltage. There will also be a 260m-long diversion canal with a width of 17m and a 250m-long tailrace canal with a width of 40m.
Strengthening regional power interconnection
The joint project between World Bank and the African Development Bank aims at increasing the benefiting countries by supplying power through the 80MW hydropower facility. This will generate an additional 26.6MW of power to the benefiting states while it strengthens the regional power interconnection between the countries.
During the construction, over 500 non- skilled and casual workers from Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi would gain employment. Once completed, Rwanda will have a 4% electricity boost with 467,000 households connected to the national grid while Burundi and Tanzanian would have a 5% and 0.034% increase respectively.