At least 64.1 megawatts will be added to the national power grid in a year, the Electricity Regulatory Authority, has said.
The authority said with the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Plant behind schedule, a new power generation was urgently needed. “New generation is urgently needed otherwise we might plunge into load shedding. We need to add new generation capacity exceeding 50MW,” Dr Benon Mutambi said last week in Kampala.
Eight mini-hydro and sugarcane plants will generate the 64.1MW, Siti (5MW), Kikagati (16MW), Nengo Bridge (6.5MW), Rwimi (5.6MW), Kinyara (20MW from biomass), Sugar Corporation of Uganda Scoul (5MW), Alam Group of Companies (5MW) and Tilda Rice Uganda (1MW). Once switched on, they would increase the country’s installed capacity from 819MW to 883MW, which still pales in comparison with Kenya’s current installed capacity of 1, 232 Megawatts.
The 64.1MW, however, would be enough to meet Tembo Steel’s factory in Lugazi demand for an additional 11MW, Roofings Mukono’s 32 megavolt amperes (MVA), and Tian Tang Mukono (20MVA), industries that are driving the construction sector.
Dr Mutambi projected that next year, demand would peak at 537.56 megawatts. Following the commissioning of the 250-megawatt Bujagali Hydropower Plant in October, peak demand had increased from 445MW to 487MW and supply peaks at 509MW.
Generation, on the other hand, has not been matching or even outstripping the unmet demand for electricity. The World Doing Business 2013 report by the World Bank says poor electricity supply adversely affects the productivity of firms and their investments. “It is, therefore, essential for businesses to have reliable, good-quality electricity supply,” the reports states.
Uganda has the potential to generate 200MW and 1,650MW from mini-hydro and biomass respectively, according to 2007 Renewable Energy Policy for Uganda. However, much of it remains unexploited.
The 2009 Electricity Tariff Reduction road accused ERA of prolonging negotiations with prospective investors but the authority says some investors are speculators who after knowing what it costs, leave.