The Government of Uganda is looking to tap in the available investment opportunities in the energy sector as it strives to boost the electricity network nationwide.
Pressure continues to pile up for the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) with the demand for the infrastructure to drive businesses and drive economic development and industrialisation.
ERA held a two-day symposium at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel on Dec ember 5- 7 to pertinent issues in the electricity supply industry with key stakeholders discuss.
Ziria Tibalwa Waako the Chief Executive Officer at ERA told The Independent that the government is considering the possibility of investing up to $4 billion in the electricity transmission network, and up to $1.7 billion in the distribution network for the period 2018-2027.
The money will be invested in the form of public-private partnerships as she challenged those interested in investing in solar home systems as well as mini-grids to join on board.
From 2009, Uganda’s electricity consumption has increased from 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours to 2.9 billion kilowatt-hours, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The increase has been fueled by the establishment of energy-run businesses, rapid population growth among other factors.
As of last year, figures from the World Bank showed that only 26.7 per cent of the country’s population has access to electricity.
According to ERA, by the end of 2017, Uganda had 21 power generation plants connected to the national grid – generating nearly 1,000GWh (988.4GWh in the last quarter). Less than 700GWh is consumed.
From the report, Energy and Mineral Development minister Irene Muloni indicated that the country has surplus electricity, urging more industries to invest in the country and tap into the excess supply.
However, the East African country seeks to bolster its electricity generation to achieve the country’s industrialisation goals.
In order for Uganda to attain middle-income status by 2020, the National Development Plan-NDPII has set targets for electricity access to 30 per cent and average consumption to 578 kWh per capita.
“We have to keep our eyes on the ball because demand for electricity is growing. Access to electricity is at 23 per cent meaning that 78 per cent of the population has no access yet Vision 2040 demands that everyone must have access to modern energy,” she said.
To meet the needs of Uganda’s growing economy, providing reliable, affordable, secure, and sustainable energy requires exploring a range of options including maximizing domestic production, diversifying the energy mix and the source of supply.
Uganda enjoys a mix of energy sources:- hydro – 459 MW, thermal – 100 MW, cogeneration – 41 MW. The energy resource potential of the country includes large hydro, mini-hydro and geothermal.
Large hydropower plants generate 68 per cent of the country’s electricity generation, with thermal power and co-generation contribution 11 per cent each respectively.
There are speculations whether the country’s electricity generation goals and consumption targets will be realised in 2020, but possible to achieve them by 2025.