Sunday June 2 2013

Shs1 trillion electricity generation plan launched

By Nelson Wesonga


A Shs1 trillion programme expected to add 125 megawatts to the grid within the next five years, has been launched in Kampala.

Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the World Bank will finance the programme through which developers of small renewable energy projects will get a top up on each unit of electricity they produce. The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) chief executive officer, Mr Benon Mutambi, yesterday said the programme should, in the short-term, help to offset a return to load shedding.

“It is anticipated that the demand for electricity will grow by 15 per cent annually in the near future,” said Dr Mutambi. “This means we should be ready to add additional generation capacity of more than 60 megawatts per annum.”

Through Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariffs (GET FiT) programme, 15 small-scale renewable energy generation projects of between one megawatt and 20 megawatts, will be established. The acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Mr Paul Mubiru, said: ‘The development of these renewable energy projects would provide a partial solution to fill the gap between Bujagali and the next large electricity project’. “However, the next power project has to come on quickly, otherwise the interventions we are looking at will not be able to solve the problem,” Mr Mubiru said.

Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) senior project officer, Ms Stephanie Rieger, said with large projects such as the 600MW Karuma plant ‘far away’, Uganda should exploit medium scale projects. “We believe a medium scale generation capacity is in a good position to help increase electricity supply and stabilise the grids in remote areas,” said Ms Silvia.

The German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr Dirk Niebel, said even with the development partners’ money, the private sector needs to invest in power generation projects.