By the year 2019, Uganda will have about 1,900MW of power to meet the country’s industrialisation and rural electrification targets, Energy Minister Irene Muloni, has said.
Uganda’s current total installed capacity is 950MW, of which Nalubaale Power Station (Owen Falls Dam) contributes 180 megawatts.
Large hydro power projects are under construction and expected to be completed by August next year, alongside smaller hydro power projects. The big projects include Karuma, Isimba and Ayago.
“In the next two years, we shall double our current capacity which is at about 950mw. If we generate that power and want it to reach the end users who are industries and our homes, both in cities, towns and trading centers, we must have the transmission networks upgraded so that it is able to transmit huge volumes of electricity,” Muloni said.
Muloni, who was speaking at the opening of the two day Future Energy Uganda conference at Serena Hotel yesterday, said the above move will not only grow the demand for electricity but also lower power tariffs among its end users.
About 78percent of Uganda’s population is not connected to the national power grid. On the international scene, goal seven of The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of which Uganda is party to, “is to ensure access to affordable, reliable sustainable and modern energy for all.”
Among others, one of the targets set is by 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services. Uganda joined the initiative in 2012 and set its national objectives to be achieved by the year 2030 which included among others, increasing the electricity access rate from 22percent to 100percent of the population.
To achieve the above target, Muloni said a number of private feasibility studies on electricity production are underway, to assess the potential that is in there, costs and the resultant tariff for cheap electricity that can support wide spread industrialization to create jobs for the youth and to enable people improve their way of life hence transforming the country into a middle income economy.
The geothermal studies for example, she said will establish how much heat and steam are in the ground that can be used to generate electricity.
“We have structured electricity production in the country through renewable energy, mindful of the environment and health of the people, hence tapping into hydroelectricity, being one of the cheapest sources of electricity and solar. Others include geothermal, wind, and biomass, largely because of the sugar factories,” she added.
Simon D’Ujanga the state minister for energy said the ministry annually has a week dedicated to energy where they hold energy exhibitions, have renewable energy campaigns and dialogues on biomass.
He said this year’s theme: “Access to power by 2030 road map” was chosen given the strong link to access to electricity and social economic development aimed at reducing poverty and putting facilities in place to handle post-harvest losses from agriculture.
Delivering The Prime Minister’s speech, Kirunda Kivejinja, The second deputy prime minister said infrastructure development like electricity generation, transmission and distribution can only be enhanced when Government saves money to invest and create a conducive environment for development partners to provide reasonably priced capital for project development.
Recognising that the energy sector has great potential in creating employment in the country, Rugunda said Government will continue providing additional resources to the sector as the financial situation improves, to match the demand arising from population growth and economic development needs.