Promote renewable energy to alleviate poverty

Sunday February 17 2019

Solar energy remains a largely untapped in

Solar energy remains a largely untapped in Uganda with the country heavily relying on hydro and thermal electricity. FILE PHOTO 

By Patrick Edema

In the National Development Plan II (NDPII), which was unveiled in 2015, the government set a target of achieving a lower middle-income status by increasing the per capita income from $600 to $1,039 by 2020 and to reduce the number of Ugandans below the poverty line from 19 per cent to 14 per cent. But the country’s per capita is currently at $750. However, Latest figures from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicate that poverty levels have increased from 19 per cent to 21.2 per cent.
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. Instead, most people are forced to rely on inefficient, expensive and polluting energy sources to power their homes and businesses. With the continuously increasing demand of electric power, the significantly high price of fuels and the growing concern of the environment, the government should invest more in renewable energy so that homes and businesses may resort to alternative energy sources. Solar energy is a sustainable choice and it can be used in various applications. When there are more investments in this alternative source of energy, particularly solar, there will be benefits from lighting, and heating, among others.
Patrick Edema,