Currently, Uganda has many hydropower projects running and some have been completed and even commissioned to start operating.
However, the challenge is that the availability of manpower to operate and manage the smooth running of such power stations is still lacking.
It's with this such background that East African Centre for research in energy and energy conservation(EACREEEC) and its partners organized an East African regional training course on development, design, installation, and operation of small hydropower plants at Makerere University.
Speaking during the training, Mary Suzan Abbo the Executive Director of Centre for research in energy and energy conservation (CREEEC) said that such skills are lacking to enable the smooth running of power dams and it's important that people running such power stations get hands-on skills to better the operations on site.
"The five-day training is aimed at providing practical skills in installation, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy plants and also update the participants with the current technology," she said.
She added that the availability of skilled labor will increase regional power generating capacity and also increase rural accessibility to power.
Eng. Emmy Matovu, the chairman of the Hydropower Association in Uganda said by 2020, Uganda will have over 140 hydropower stations running and these will need about 840 technicians and 180 engineers to run them smoothly. This calls for specialised expertise and training in management.
He notes that if training such people starts now, then Uganda will be able to achieve its targets of having the 140 power dams managed well come 2020.
Speaking at the launch of the training, Esther Nyanzi the Executive director of Uganda national renewable energy and energy efficiency alliance said that East Africa has potential to establish small hydropower plants but this has not yet been done due to lack of resources, human resource being one of them.
To meet the sustainable development goals, we need to train human resource to help in the installation, design, and operation of the power stations. However, it's important that we work with government to achieve the country's development goals.
Dr. Rana Pratap Sing the industrial development officer told the trainees that it was important for them to request government to create knowledge centers on hydropower installation and design. This will help them do research and attain knowledge hence development.
The training brought together people from different engineering capacities and these were given both practical and theoretical training. They were also subjected to field visits to have a clear view of how the installation of a hydropower project is done.