Ziria gave an insight into regulating the power generation, transmission, distribution, sale, export & import of electrical energy in Uganda, and to guide the liberalization of the electricity industry, manage li-censing, rates, safety and other matters concerning the electricity industry.
The sector has had an evolving vision starting with reform through the electricity acts with objec-tives of increase sector efficiency , make the power sector financially viable and making the power sector financially sustainable and Reduce/ remove subsidies from Government Budget.
Electricity Sector Reforms – Electricity ACT 1999 unbundled and vertically integrated the Uganda Electricity Board into the three segments that is generation, transmission and distribution and thus necessitated the electricity regulator. Now, 21 companies are regulate within the sector among the biggest players; ESKOM managing the old generation assets, Umeme in charge of 95% of distribu-tion segments, Bujagali Energy Limited in charge of Bujagali energy hydro and various small, Min-grid and Cooperatives
Uganda generation power capacity is 852megawatts while the peak 520megawatts with a surplus of approximately 300megawatts which is an opportunity for new investors to take advantage and consume.
The future for the sector is promising with a distribution network standing at 2000 kilometres and expected to double in the next three years.
Uganda is no longer load shedding but due to aged distribution infrastructure the system is forced to interfere with transmission in order to maintain the grid.
On the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (GETFiT) Programme she added that it is a top-up mechanism funded by UK DECC, UK DFID, EU ITF, Germany, Norway with a total commitment of about EUR 70 – 90 million to help stabilize Ugandan power sector finances by adding least-cost Re-newable Energy generation capacity and help to decentralize and diversify of Uganda’s energy mix, thus enhancing security of supply and make investment in small renewables and that is hydro, ba-gasse, biomass and make them financially attractive. The objectives of the GETFIT project is to Promotion of clean energy in Uganda. Reduce approximately 11million tonnes of CO2 bridging the gap between the generation and demand for the forecasted short to medium term as we wait for the long awaited Karuma and Isimba power generation projects.
She finally stressed that investment opportunities largely lies in the off grid rural based electrifica-tion projects, generation and transmission and distribution segments. The national grid access is at 20% with the 80% of the 35million Ugandans still struggling using biomass as the source of energy and this pose great opportunities. The government is running another tender specifically for solar and investors are needed to take advantage of bankable power purchase and sales agreements.
These are some of the investment opportunities in Renewable Energy.
The potential for development of large hydropower projects along River Nile is estimated at about 2,000 MW. With only 380 MW developed at Kiira and Nalubaale, and 250 MW at Bujagali, the unex-ploited potential is well over 1300MW.
Small hydro presents a category of energy sources which could sustainably contribute to en-hancement of rural electrification especially if the project area has no existing power distribution. There is already available sites for development.
Biomass based power generation is increasingly becoming competitive and considerably cheaper than thermal power based on fossil fuels. The need for modern biomass energy has become more tenable due to increased electricity demand, coupled with unfavorable weather changes that have resulted into decreased water levels in Lake Victoria.
Co-generation is convenient in situations where there are excess agricultural residues such as ba-gasse, coffee and rice husks. In the case of sugar industries, there is often excess bagasse after the factory requirement, which can be used to generate electricity for local sale or for feeding into the national grid.
Geothermal energy is one of the possible alternative renewable energy sources in Uganda which could supplement other sources of energy and investigations revealed three major potential areas for detailed exploration, namely; Katwe-Kikorongo, Buranga and Kibiro. These are all situated in or near the Western Rift Valley of Uganda (zone of most recent volcanic activities). According to the Renewable Energy Policy of Uganda, 2007, the combined geothermal potential from these three major areas is 450MW.
Existing solar data clearly shows that the solar energy resource in Uganda is high throughout the year. With mean solar radiation of 5.1 kWh/m2 per day on a horizontal surface, the country has a potential of 11.98 x 108 MWh gross energy resources. At an estimated conversion efficiency of 10%, the country has available power of 11.98 x 107 MWh. At present, solar photo-voltaic (PV) electricity is not generated in sufficient quantities for inter-connection to the national grid.
However, one of the long-term policy measures to increase diversity and security in energy supply in the country is to develop small renewable projects including the use solar PV generated electrical en-ergy.
In that regard, the Board of ERA in April 2014 considered and approved a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) of US$ 11 Cents per kWh for grid connected solar PV energy. Procurement of new capacity from solar technology is subject to a competitive tendering process initiated by the ERA in accordance with the Electricity Act, 1999 Chapter 145, Laws of Uganda.