The European Union (EU) has advised Government to further accelerate the provision of clean, sustainable energy in rural areas, not focusing only on providing power to the main off – takers like large industries and industrial parks.
The European Union head of Cooperation Cedric Merel told stakeholders at the Energy and Mineral Development joint sector review on Tuesday; “Access to electricity in rural Uganda and in the secondary cities can be achieved by accelerating the extension of the electricity grid. We welcome the electricity connection policy that subsidizes the cost of connection of rural customers. Several development partners are already supporting this initiative.
Merel also called for an update on the status of the revision of the Electricity Act of 1999 and for the Rural Electrification Agency to get more autonomy by acquiring full legal personality and control over the rural electrification fund and it’s sourcing.
Furthermore, he said the importance of quickly providing clean, efficient energy particularly in rural areas is evident in the degree of deforestation witnessed in Uganda over the last few years.
Electricity contributes only 1.4% of Uganda’s energy balance while biomass (firewood and charcoal) accounts for 88% of total energy supply and oil products for 9.7%.
Biomass is still the main form of energy used for cooking in rural and urban areas. 75% of lowest income households still use traditional highly inefficient and polluting stoves for cooking along with expensive to run and light inefficient kerosene/ paraffin lamps
Basing on the above, the head of EU Cooperation said development partners are ready to support the Government in implementing its strategy on biomass energy and sustainable charcoal value chain to produce coal and firewood in sustainable manner and produce improved and efficient cook stoves.
“In the same line, development partners are also keen to consider the viability of creating a distribution network for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas”
“We believe that LPG is part of the solution to the deforestation challenge facing Uganda,” he added
Uganda’s current LPG consumption is 40 metric tons per day as compared to Kenya which is 800 to 900 metric tons per day.