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Project Update

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)–Uganda Interconnection [free access]

October 5, 2020

Developer: Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) and Société Nationale d'Electricité (SNEL) of DRC

 

Project description/ Scope of Work: The cross-border project aims to link north-eastern DRC, which is isolated from the national grid.

 

The cross-border project entails the construction of a construction of 352-km-long overhead transmission line (OHTL) at 220 kV (400 kV) and will connect the eastern part of DRC to Uganda’s power grid. The DRC portion connecting Beni–Bunia–Butemboand will be 280-km-long, which will then be connected to Nkenda (Uganda) via a 72-km-long OHTL. Further, it will include establishment of four substations — Beni, Bunia and Butembo in DRC and at Nkenda in Uganda, along with the telecommunication and rural electrification systems in the DRC sections.

 

The project is part of the Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) Interconnection Project, aims to link the electricity grids of the five NEL countries—Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, the DRC [eastern part] and Rwanda—under the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP). The regional project involves the construction of 931 km of 220 kV and 110 kV lines, and 17 substations, to form an integrated grid system. It aims to improve the quality of the socioeconomic development of the member countries, by providing affordable electricity via cross-border power trade.

 

In 2015, the feasibility study and environmental and social impact assessment/resettlement assistance programme (ESIA/RAP) for the project, funded by the Norwegian government, have been completed and these were prepared by AECOM Technology Corporation (AECOM) and GENIVAR, respectively.

 

In August 2017, Uganda and the DRC had signed a preliminary agreement for the construction of the transmission line to connect both the countries. The project will enable transfer of energy from the soon to be surplus Uganda to the power deficient DRC.

 

In May 2020, African Development Bank (AfDB) announced to provide financial support worth USD0.925 million for updating the feasibility study of the project.  The feasibility study, is expected to run for 14 months, and will be conducted by the NELSAP-Coordination Unit (CU), in consultation with SNEL and UETCL.

 

In September 2020, NELSAP invited Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for seeking consultancy services for the project. The first EoI is for updating the feasibility study report, and for the detailed design and preparation of tender documents. The second EoI is for updating the ESIA and RAP studies.