Metier starts commercial operations at Ugandan hydropower project

UGANDA – Metier has announced the start of commercial operations for the 5.25MW Sindila hydropower project in which Metier, via its Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital fund (LMSC), is the majority investor. 

Sindila is located in the Bundibugyo District of western Uganda and is owned by a special purpose vehicle, Butama Hydro Electricity Company.

Sindila benefits from its location in the foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains and is a high-head run-of-river project with a total gross head of 402meters which is used to drive two Pelton turbines of 2.8MW each. 

The water is conveyed via an enclosed steel low-pressure headrace and high-pressure penstock from a Tyrolean weir to the powerhouse.

Minority shareholders alongside Metier are KMRI, the original project developers; Fieldstone Africa Investment Resources (FAIR) and WK Power. 

KMRI LLC is a US based developer specializing in developing small-distributed renewables in emerging markets to institutional project finance standards. 

KMRI developed Sindila for few years and arranged the project construction equity and debt. 

FAIR, a development support arm of Fieldstone, provided development funding alongside LMSC as well as active development support.

WK Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of WK Holdings, a privately held South Africa construction group of companies which is both the Civils Engineering Procurement and Construction contractor on the project as well as the operator via its Ugandan entity, Sindila Hydro Construction

The electro-mechanical contractor and turbine supplier is the Slovenian firm, Kolektor Turboinštitut. 

The Uganda and South African offices of SMEC provided Owner’s Engineer and project management services, Aurecon acted as the lender’s independent engineer and Synergy Global Consulting provided social and environmental management support during construction.

The project is funded by a combination of debt and equity with debt provided by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US development finance institution. 

The project represents an investment of US$20 million into the Uganda power sector and created well over 500 jobs at peak employment, the majority of which went to workers from the local community.

The project will generate approximately 28GWh of electricity per year which will be purchased by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

 It will consequently reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 15,120 tonnes of CO2 per year based on the standard Uganda grid emissions factor.

Sindila was retrospectively granted a certificate for achievement of commercial operations on 18 April 2019. 

Metier looks forward to the project continuing to be an important contributor to the energy sector and economy of Uganda in the years to come.

Metier was founded in 2004 and raised South Africa’s largest private equity fund in terms of third-party local commitments. The Metier Sustainable Capital Practice (MSCP) has garnered significant traction since its inception. 

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