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First turbine unit at Karuma nears completion

By John Odyek

Added 22nd August 2018 12:50 PM

Once complete, each of the six turbine units shall have an installed capacity of 100MW bringing the today installed capacity of the dam project at 600MW.

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Once complete, each of the six turbine units shall have an installed capacity of 100MW bringing the today installed capacity of the dam project at 600MW.

PIC: Equipment being assembled for the first turbine unit to begin power generation at the Karuma Hydro Power Project. (Credit: John Odyek)

The contactors of the $1.7b (sh6.3 trillion) Karuma Hydro Power project have said the first unit of six units of the turbines for generating power will be ready by November.

The contractors said that as the 600 MW project edges towards completion, a crucial milestone is nearly complete which is the installation of hydro mechanical and electro-mechanical equipment. This set of equipment includes the turbine and associate parts like the bottom ring, head cover, wicket gate, turbine shaft, rotor and stator etc.

“We have assembled the rotor for the first turbine unit on site after successful hoisting of the bottom ring for the same unit,” said Deng Changhyi, project manager for the contractor of the project Sinohydro Corporation of China. The project commencement Date 16th December, 2013 with a duration for completion set at 60months (five years)

“This is a major stride towards the goal of ensuring that the first unit is ready for generation at the end of 2018,” Changhyi said in a press statement.

The generator unit is composed of the turbine blades, shaft, rotor, stator, the turbine governor system, ventilation and cooling system and generator auxiliary system. 

The generation of electricity from this system is a cascading combination of energy changes from water’s kinetic energy that moves the turbine and all the other moving parts, creating an electromagnetic field from which current is produced and conducted away to the transformers, hence electricity.

The equipment for the project is being manufactured offshore in China by international turbine manufacturers such as General Electric-Alstom. 

“We are mandated to carry out factor acceptance tests on all this equipment, grant delivery permission, arrival acceptance and subject the equipment to detailed assembly programmes,” Deng said,

“This is done not just by we the contractors but by all the parties on site namely the Ministry of Energy, the Government implementing agency UEGCL and the Owner’s Engineer.”

He said this exercise is meant to strictly enforce quality control from the unit design, manufacturing, testing, commodity inspection, export packaging, transportation, technical data, on-site technical training and technical guidance services to the installation, debugging, operation of the unit, ensure that all link works are controllable and have excellent quality.

The Karuma hydropower project has an underground powerhouse, which shall receive water to move the turbines through a mosaic of tunnels and ducts, making it the first of its kind in Africa. Currently, there is a total 26.5 km of underground tunneling and other civil works. 

Deng said civil works on the dam and water in- take sections is almost complete with the installation of radial flood control gates recently completed.

Once complete, each of the six turbine units shall have an installed capacity of 100MW bringing the today installed capacity of the dam project at 600MW. After commissioning of the Karuma project, generation capacity of Uganda will be almost doubled. Currently installed capacity is estimated at 890MW.

The total project cost for the Karuma hydropower station is USD 1.7 billion and includes the generation and transmission components. The project shall have three major transmission lines evacuating the power produced. 

These are the 400 KV Karuma-Kawanda line that is 248km long; 400 KV Karuma Olwiyo 55 Km long and the 132 KV Karuma-Lira 75km. 

The project will also create three new substations, at Karuma, Kawanda and Olwiyo while the power on the Lira transmission line shall terminate at the already existing Lira substation.

With well-defined goals, by rising to the challenge, keeping up the great performance and advancing bravely, Chinese together with Ugandans work hand in hand, striving to achieve the common goal of successfully completing the first unit by end of 2018.   


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