Uganda’s Renewable Energy Potential Under Utilized – Experts

Whereas Uganda might be endowed with immense natural sources of renewable energy, search experts say this hasn’t been fully exploited despite the current threat posed by climate change.

Godfrey Ndawula a consultant in Renewable Energy argues that alternative energy sources like biomass are comparatively safer due to their vast uses and can be easily grown but majority of Ugandans are ignorant about the resource.

“Biomass can be a source of process heat for industrial production, fuel for cooking and even electricity using agro residues like molasses, coffee and rice husks. However inadequate information and lack of awareness are a major limitation,” Ndawula noted during an engagement on renewable energy at the Innovations Village in Ntinda.

In addition, he mentioned that the adaptation of biomass would save Uganda’s reserves for oil as well as reduce hazardous emissions through blending of petroleum.

Uganda in 2010 set an ambitious target to have Sustainable Energy for all by the year 2030 by doubling the use of Renewable Energy which currently stands at 3,200 Megawatts.

According to Ndawula, barriers like high upfront costs (for solar and geothermal energy), lack of technical and managerial capacity coupled with inadequate research still inhibit the country’s uptake for renewable energy.

Maclian Senyonga who works with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation  Department in the Ministry of Energy however says government has taken steps towards sustainable energy.

“Following the hike in power tariffs, UMEME recently gave out to users 480,000 free LED bulbs whose consumption capacity is 50% lower than the Candescent bulbs. About 580,000 more bulbs will be distributed in the second batch,” Senyonga said.


This he argues will reduce power billing costs for users and the instability in the power voltage which often cause power cuts.

In total, Uganda generates 865 Megawatts of energy capacity and 80% of this is from hydroelectricity. Government says that when completed, both Karuma and Isimba hydro electricity power dams will add 800 more Megawatts.

The discussion comes at a time when leaders from over 190 countries that are party to 2015’s historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change are meeting in Morocco to follow up on their commitments.

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