Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant in Rwanda

Home » Projects » Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant in Rwanda

Nyabarongo II multi-purpose dam is a concrete gravity dam built on the Nyabarongo River between the districts of Gakenke and Kamonyi in southwestern Rwanda. The dam will be bordered by a 48m high wall with a crest length of 228m.

At the foot of the dam, the Chinese company Sinohydro will build a hydropower plant. The water released from the reservoir will turn the turbines to produce 43.5MW of electricity. The project also includes the construction of a substation, as well as the creation of a 110kV transmission line over a distance of 19.2km to connect the plant to the Rulindo substation.

The construction of the 43 MW Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant in Rwanda began in mid-2022 following a groundbreaking ceremony announced by the Minister of Infrastructure.

Funded by the Export-Import Bank to the tune of US$ 214M under an agreement signed back in February 2020, the project is set to directly employ about 700 Rwandans and create income streams for local distributors by sourcing building resources such as sand, stones, timber, and cement from them. Reportedly, only electrical and electromechanical equipment will be imported.

Upon completion, the Nyabarongo II hydropower plant will include three 14.5MW units built by Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company, and will be operational between September 2025 and January 2026.

Reported earlier

April 2019

Nyaborongo II Hydropower in Rwanda set to be constructed

Rwanda is set to construct a new hydropower plant dubbed ‘Nyaborongo II Hydropower Plant’ after the government signed a deal with China’s SynoHydro to construct the development at a cost of US $214m.

The Head of Power Generation Projects Implementation at Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), Théoneste Higaniro, explained that in addition to this amount, the Government will provide more money for expropriations and project management fees.

Nyaborongo II Hydropower Plant

The hydropower plant is expected to produce a power capacity of 43.5MW. Higaniro said that upon completion, the project will contribute to over 11.5% of the total electricity on the national grid. EDCL and SynoHydro Ltd signed an amendment to their June 6, 2018 agreement on the design, supply, construction, installation, and commissioning of the plant.

Apart from generating electricity, the dam will be used for flood control and paving way for irrigation systems, and reclaiming land for agricultural activities downstream. The project is anticipated to create some 900 direct and indirect job opportunities Environmental Concerns

The Nyabarongo I hydropower project which produces 28MW was the first phase of the project and was specifically designed for power generation purposes only. Higaniro moved to allay fears that human activities such as mining that lead to huge deposits of sand or soil in the river have reduced the water volumes thus affecting the plant’s capacity.

Théoneste Higaniro promised that REG will work with stakeholders in environmental management to minimize the impact of human activity in the River. Some 51% of Rwandan households have access to electricity, with 37% connected to the national grid and 14% to off-grid systems. Under its seven-year plan, which runs up to 2024, the Government targets 100% access to electricity.

Feb 2020

Rwanda to receive US $214m for Nyabarongo II hydropower plant project

Rwanda has received a concessional loan of US $214m from the Exim Bank of China for the implementation of the Nyabarongo II hydropower plant project. This is after an agreement was signed between the Rwandan government and the bank.

Also Read: Construction of Rucanzogera mini hydropower project in Rwanda to begin

Economic benefits

The Nyabarongo II dam will supply water to Rwanda’s southwestern irrigation systems. The dam is also expected to mitigate the perpetual flooding downstream of the Nyabarongo River.

According to Rao Hongwei, the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda the project will generate electricity, create employment opportunities, improve irrigation, and transform swamps into arable land over an area of 20,000 hectares.

He further added that the project is financed by the largest preferential loan ever granted by the Chinese government to the Rwandan government. Sinohydro has five years to deliver the Nyabarongo II dam and hydropower plant.