25 May 2022

Mushishito-Rukarara Hydropower Project, Rwanda

Mushishito-Rukarara Hydropower Project, Rwanda

  • The 5 MW Mushishito–Rukarara Hydropower Project in Rwanda is nearing its final commissioning after nearly two years of SiVEST involvement.
  • The Project named Rukurara V is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric plant located in the Nyamagabe District of the Southern Province of the Republic of Rwanda in central Africa.
  • The plant comprises three turbines of two intake works from two rivers. There is a single power house located at the confluence of the two rivers, and the plant supplies 5MW to the national grid.

Initiated and funded by Omnihydro Ltd (Rwanda), construction began in July 2017. Omnihydro Ltd appointed an EPC contractor on a turn-key contract basis. However, due to various onsite challenges, this contractor pulled out of the project in 2020 leaving the plant incomplete. This is when SiVEST Mauritius stepped in and was appointed as the construction management contractor.

As Omnihydro’s representative, SiVEST resumed the work on site. In August 2020, only the power house and the intake works with penstock pipeline for the Mushishito River were complete. The Mushishito turbine was at this time feeding 2 MW of power into the grid. SiVEST continued with the construction of the half completed 2km GRP pipeline, the concrete dam and intake, and the 18m dia 25m high surge tank on the Rukarara part of the project.

Desilting tanks, 100m long, were constructed as part of the design to protect the Francis turbines. SiVEST put procedures in place for the procurement and control of materials, equipment and labour to complete the project.

SiVEST had an opportunity on this venture to work with the existing Sri Lankan civil construction team left on site by the EPC contractors. The 1km of 2.2m diameter steel pipeline supply and installation was continued by the Mauritian contractor. SiVEST also collaborated with the original Romanian design engineer, their Rwandan Geotechnical engineer as well as Rwandan Owner’s Engineer in quality control. Local labour was also employed from the surrounding communities.

Heavy rainfall, steep gradients and areas with unstable slopes brought some challenges to the team over the last 18 months. Both temporary and permanent drainage channels had to be installed and many slopes had to be planted to minimize the adverse effects of erosion. Global shipping constraints and shortages of locally available materials also proved to be obstacles, but were mitigated by timeous procurement and professional planning.

Now, in early 2022, commissioning of the hydro plant is underway. SiVEST has completed the project and achieved the government’s planned contribution of 5MW to the national grid. Omnihydro Ltd remains onsite for a further 25 years’ operating and managing the plant.

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