The Energy Sector in every Country is the backbone of development and growth. In Uganda, this is one of the most critical sectors. Energy used in Uganda is mostly from Hydro Electric Power, and fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. However there is a growing industry of Solar Energy which is being harnessed by individuals and Businesses alike.
Uganda’s position along the equator, ever flowing rivers and the expected oil and petroleum discovered in West and Northern Uganda make it potential for players in the energy sector. Furthermore, in 1999 Uganda became one of very few Sub-Saharan countries to liberalize the energy sector allowing private players, both large and small scale to engage in generation, transmission and supply under the watchful eye of an independent Electricity Regulatory Authority that undertakes sector regulation and oversight.
Uganda currently has 850 Megawatts (MW) of installed capacity (with effective generation of approximately 710 MW), of which approximately 645 MW is hydro and 101.5 MW is thermal generating capacity. The Government of Ugandan is building additional large Hydro-Power facilities, such as the 600 MW Karuma Hydro-Power Dam and the 183 MW Isimba Falls Hydro-Project. Uganda has approximately 1500 kilometers of transmission lines (over 33kV), which the government aims to double; there are plans to upgrade existing transmission lines and develop a 220kV “ring” around Lake Victoria in conjunction with Kenya and Tanzania.
The connection rate is however low and many of Uganda’s population remains off the grid. This is a great opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of and it calls for the development of energy options that can fit with the majority of the population. A large section of Uganda’s population still uses kerosene lamps and firewood which is a very big risk and a very unhealthy option, not forgetting the negative impact on the Tropical Environment that Uganda is known for. There is a huge Business opportunity presented by the need for affordable, clean and renewable energy for lighting and cooking in Homes as well as running small and large scale industries such as Agro-Processing, value addition and manufacturing.