Small-scale run-of-the-river hydropower plant Nyamwamba II to add 7.8 MW to the Ugandan grid

rAREH starts construction on greenfield Ugandan hydropower plant

November 20194 min read

Nairobi, 30 November 2019 — responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding (rAREH), the Nairobi-based energy company focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa, has officially started construction on a run-of-the-river hydropower plant located on the Nyamwamba river in Western Uganda. Once it becomes operational in 2021 the plant will produce 7.8 MW of renewable energy, enough to supply 34,000 households in one of Africa’s most energy-starved regions.

Nyamwamba II is a small-scale run-of-the-river hydropower plant that is being developed just upstream of Nyamwamba I, a 9.2 MW hydropower plant completed in February 2018 and acquired by rAREH in July 2019

Once it becomes operational, Nyamwamba II will be delivering electricity to the Nkenda substation, which plays a crucial role in supplying various industrial load centres in Western Uganda and will be pivotal for future electricity exports to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The power plant will help reduce yearly carbon emissions by 18,000 tonnes and support access to energy for 160,000 people while providing 205 jobs during the construction phase and 25 permanent positions related to operations.

For the construction, rAREH is teaming up with one of the key developers of Nyamwamba I, SAEMS Hydro who is well respected by the community and recognized as best employer in the area To ensure a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to construction, rAREH’s Technical Assistance Facility has teamed up with WWF for a 5-year programme to drive sustainable land and water management through the payment for ecosystem approach. The partnership targets 900 farmers who will be involved in catchment conservation. 

Leading up to the official start of construction, the Generation Licence for the project was issued by the regulator in October 2018. The 20-year Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement were signed in March 2019, all land lease agreements were concluded and the affected population compensated. Preparation works establishing the site and access roads began in July 2019. Since then, rAREH has established its on-site team consisting of a Site Manager, Health, Safety and Environment Officer and Community Liason Officer. 

Managing Director Joseph Nganga said: “We are excited to officially start construction on Nyamwamba II. In remote areas such as the Kasese District, small-scale power plants are not only key to stabilize the grid and reduce transmission losses. They also provide jobs and develop new skill sets among the local population. By teaming up with an experienced and well-respected developer and local communities, we ensure that rAREH delivers value to its shareholders while also meeting its primary impact target of fighting energy poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

rAREH is a renewable energy company focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. Headquartered in Nairobi, the company finances, develops, owns and operates renewable energy projects of up to 50 MW across the various stages of development. The rAREH portfolio currently includes six operational solar and hydro power plants which account for 41 MW. The team of 25 experienced investment professionals, developers, engineers and E&S specialists is furthermore constructing two more plants and developing a 265 MW pipeline. 

rAREH was established in 2013 via the support of two German Ministries – the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) - both investing via the German Development Bank (KfW). The investor base today includes the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries, Norfund and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). rAREH is managed by Swiss impact asset manager responsAbility Investments.

A leading asset manager for impact investments in emerging economies, responsAbility manages USD 3 billion of assets through a range of investment vehicles that provide private debt and private equity to some 540 companies with inclusive business models across 90 countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, and has local offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris.


Stephanie Bilo
responsAbility Investments
+41 44 403 0553

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