Tuesday July 15 2014

Explore our wind energy potential

By Diana Taremwa

Wind energy is the conversion of the winds kinetic energy into electrical energy using wind turbines and wind mills. According to Uganda’s renewable energy policy 2007, wind data collected by the country’s Meteorology Department concluded that wind energy is available and sufficient for power generation, especially in the southwestern districts of Kabaale, Ntungamo, Kisoro and around Mt Elgon and Karamoja areas. Wind energy potential can, therefore, be harnessed as an alternative power source and for diversification of Uganda’s power sector.
Effects of climate change, as well as environmental degradation around Lake Victoria have decimated the power generation capacity of plants along the river, a situation that has brought about power supply shortages in the country. Uganda, which has one of the highest population growth rates in the world, already cannot keep pace with its energy demands by relying on a single power source. It’s thus clear that an expanded and diversified range of renewable power sources is critical.
Mr Samuel Ogutu working under the Uganda Veterans Wind Power Initiative, has already made wonders with a pilot wind energy project in his native Koome Islands, Mukono District. Using locally sourced materials - wood and iron sheets - Mr Ogutu is making blades, generating enough electricity to supply several homes. With support, the Uganda Veterans Wind Power Initiative would go a long way in delivering power to Ugandans, especially those in rural areas.
In neighbouring Kenya, wind energy has achieved relatively high levels of penetration. Wind energy is a clean energy source, and environmental friendly. Wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions that cause greenhouse gasses responsible for global warming effect, unlike burning of wood fuel that characterises most rural households.
Government continues to ignore its own policies and legal requirements to diversify energy sources and provide its people with clean, reliable and affordable power. Access to such power has thus remained a dream to many Ugandans. Parliament should, therefore, strengthen its oversight over the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and lay emphasis on exploitation of alternative clean energy sources, especially wind to increase electricity generation capacity and utilisation of clean energy sources.