Uganda is a country that is home to roughly 49 million citizens, and of these citizens, only 42% have access to electricity. The country works around the clock to grow infrastructurally and economically so that it may provide equitable access to all its citizens. However, more than this, the government, nonprofits and foreign countries are pooling their efforts to create a future for renewable energy in Uganda.
About Electricity Access in Uganda
Uganda faces a few key issues when it comes to getting electricity to its people and throughout its country. Currently, it is facing three main issues:
- Environmental challenges make it extremely difficult for Uganda to utilize hydropower.
- The up-front costs of renewable energy (ex. solar, wind or nuclear) are large and can discourage investments from the government or private investors.
- Rural areas have a harder time obtaining electricity compared to urban areas because of the barren terrain in these more rural places.
Uganda faces the issues many countries do, and while these issues are complicated, they are not impossible for countries to overcome. People from across the country and from across the globe are implementing numerous innovative and educational projects so that the country may continue in the search for and construction of renewable energy in Uganda.
The Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) Project
The Ugandan government is spearheading a renewable energy project called the Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) project. The Ugandan government has enacted the project in parts since the early 2000s and is currently in its third phase. The project is targeting the most remote citizens of Uganda first as it aims to build energy infrastructure in rural areas and bring internet and technological information and communication to schools and hospitals. Once the government connects these areas to the grid, it turns the newly built infrastructure into green energy resources including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.
More than 7,000 people have been connected to the electrical grid and there has been a 31% decrease in the use of nonrenewable energy for industry from the past two phases. The third phase of this project aims to not only bridge the gaps where there are still vast expanses of rural areas in Uganda that do not have a connection to the electrical grid but also to bring renewable, green energy for an equitable future.
The Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance (UNREEEA) has also promoted Uganda’s renewable energy development. It is a nonprofit conglomerate of green energy business leaders trying to promote private investment in green energy building within the country. UNREEEA helps to advocate to private business owners and energy companies to invest in the long-term future of renewable energy in Uganda, and among these advocacy efforts is its Green Banking Project. It has teamed up with the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services (UIBFS) to educate on, promote and encourage private and decentralized businesses to bring their companies to all of Uganda.
UNREEEA and UIBFS have created online training courses, seminars and partner lectures to instruct businesses on why they should build renewable energy in Uganda as well as the best ways to implement green energy within the country. UNREEEA and UIBFS are working tirelessly to encourage worthwhile investments in Uganda’s technological and renewable future.
Germany’s Role in Promoting Renewable Energy in Uganda
Germany has recently been lending a helping hand to Uganda’s renewable energy front. Germany’s project started in 2020 and will be ending this November in 2023, and it is an intellectually collaborative project that focuses on bringing more biogas plants to Uganda. Biogas is a modern form of renewable energy, and because of Uganda’s low rainfall and wind rates, it can be very helpful in alleviating the challenges of implementing other forms of green energy posed by changing weather patterns. The German Biogas Association (FvB) is currently helping the Uganda National Biogas Alliance (UNBA) by freely sharing its information on biogas technologies. The FvB has helped support and advocate for the interest of biogas, develop services and infrastructure and train management positions during the past three years. The FvB is a leading example of how all countries can benefit by lending a helping hand.
While not every person in Uganda has access to electricity or the internet, every person in Uganda can rest assured that their country’s leaders are working to not only give everyone equal opportunities but also to invest in a green, renewable future. Uganda faces many challenges like the lack of infrastructure, the lack of fiscal resources, harsh weather and desert terrain and many other issues. Despite this, the government, nonprofits and neighboring countries continue to collect their efforts and garner support for capacity building and green energy advocacy across all of Uganda.
– Alexandra Curry