Govt takes over Namanve Thermal Power plant

Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa (second left) together with officials from Namanve Thermal Power Plant and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited inspecting the Namanve plant last Saturday. Photo | Stephen Otage

What you need to know:

  • This follows the expiry of the agreement with Jacobsen Elektro AS from Norway, which constructed the plant under the build–own–operate–transfer arrangement. The plant generates 50MW of power.

Government is taking over the management, operation and maintenance of the Namanve Thermal Power plant starting tomorrow, the Ministry of Energy has said.

This follows the expiry of the agreement with Jacobsen Elektro AS from Norway, which constructed the plant under the build–own–operate–transfer arrangement. The plant generates 50MW of power.

In an interview with Daily Monitor on Saturday, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister for Energy, said she inspected the plant on Saturday to ensure that whatever is indicated in the Auditor General’s Due Diligence report is what is on ground.

“It has been maintained very well because it is a security installation,” she said.
She said Ugandans need to appreciate the Namanve Thermal Power Plant because much as the country has excess electricity, in case of any calamity like drought and moving suds, where electricity generation is reduced,  key installations around the country, which depend on constant supply of electricity, will be supplied power from the plant.

Asked how much government injected into the plant, Ms Nankabirwa said she does not have the entire cost because there are additional investments like the land where the plant sits, which Jacobsen bought using its own money, since the one government offered was not suitable for the plant.

Ms Irene Bateebe, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy, said Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) will be responsible for operating the plant as the country builds local capacity to manage the cost and the resultant tariff. 

“This is a security plant. [If] we get power supply disruptions, it is a backup. In the new arrangement the plant will be available to meet the gap. Much as we have 1,200MW, we still get challenges along the transmission,” she said.

Mr Harrison Mutikanga, the managing director of UEGCL, said in April 2007, government and Jacobsen Elektro entered a 13-year agreement to build own, operate and transfer the 50MW plant.  UEGCL is the implementing agency to operate and maintain the plant.

“We are at the stage of transferring the plant back to government. This was a build own and transfer project. The build and own stages are over, we are at the transfer stage as you know. UEGCL owns all the generation plants in the country. We have adequate capacity to continue operating the plant without any problem. We have to start the transfer process in a seamless manner,” he said.

Generation capacity
According to the Electricity Regulatory Authority, Uganda’s Electricity sub-Sector has grown from Three (3) Generation Plants in 2001 to more than 40 plants and is still growing. The total installed generation capacity has grown from 60 MW in 1954 to 1237.49 MW as of October 2020. 

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