Prioritise off-grid renewable energy in rural areas

Thursday April 25 2019

By Patrick Edema

More than 600 people in Africa currently have no access to electricity and other efficient energy supply. The productivity and health of these people diminish by reliance on traditional fuels and technologies, with women and children suffering the most.

According to the Uganda National Population and housing Census 2014, household electrification rate on grid stood at 5 per cent and 10.3 per cent for all forms of energy in rural areas, while the average grid electrification rate stood at 16 per cent and 20.6 per cent for all forms nationwide.

The government has continued implementing several power projects, including Karuma, Bujagali and Isimba hydropower projects, which was recently commissioned with the aim of increasing access to electricity connections.

Under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff projects such as the 10MW Soroti and Tororo solar power plants, and the 20MW pilot solar park in Kabulasoke Gomba District, also already commissioned, are meant increase electricity access. However, with all the projects connected to the national grid, people still pay high electricity tariffs.

The government also launched the free electricity connections policy with a target of connecting 300,000 households every year as part of efforts to increase electricity access across the country.

The electricity access according to the Ministry of Energy statistics, remains low at about 20 per cent for all forms of energy. Therefore, with off-grid solar power available in rural areas, people’s lives will be improved with clean air, greater learning environment for the children and a way to make money for the families.
Patrick Edema,