Rusumo power plant ready for commissioning

An overview of the Rusumo Hydropower Project.  PHOTO | FILE

Arusha. The Rusumo Falls hydroelectric power plant is almost ready for commissioning as tests of the plant located on the Tanzania/Rwanda/Burundi border are set to be completed later this month.

"We are ready to fully use electricity from Rusumo by the end of this year," said the Rwanda minister for Infrastructure, Mr Jimmy Gasore.

He revealed this during a meeting of the ministers holding the energy docket from Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi at the site. According to him, the project implementation is already 99.7 percent completed by September 30th, adding that they are already done with the civil works.

The $ 347 million project is one of the investment programmes under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).
The initiative has a mandate to facilitate jointly agreed transformative regional trans-boundary cooperative projects or in-country with regional impacts related to common use of Nile Basin water resources.

The plant will generate electricity using water from the Kagera river, one of the sources of the Nile River which flows into Lake Victoria.
The 600km long straddles the borders of the three countries; Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda and has an annual discharge of 540 cubic metres per second. It forms part of the upper headwaters of the Nile and carries water from its most distant source in the Burundi/Rwanda highlands.

While electricity from Rusumo will largely stabilize power supply in Rwanda and Burundi, for Tanzania it will add the megawatts numbers to the national power grid. The main constructions of the power plant are located at the border between Tanzania and Rwanda with the switchyard located on the Rwanda side.

There will be transmission lines for electricity within 94km from Rusumo to Nyakanazi in Tanzania and 161km and 194 to different locations in Rwanda and Burundi respectively.

Each of the three countries Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda in the shared project will connect 26.6MW to its respective national grid.

The 80MW electricity that will be generated will be shared equally by the three countries, with each connecting 26.6MW.

NBI is a partnership, effective in 1999, of the three riparian states, which seek to develop economic projects for the shared benefits.
"With what we have seen, the project is at the final phase". said Sylvester A.

Matemu, NBI secretary general during a visit to the site by permanent secretaries from the three countries.
In Tanzania,community support projects such as health centres, water supply, roads, schools, beekeeping and others were carried out in Ngara district.