Up until recent years, Uganda regularly faced power shortages. In order to respond to the growing demand in a climate-friendly way, the country's government is relying on renewable energies.
The potential for renewables is big: Uganda is the source of the White Nile and and also features two of Africa’s Great Lakes —Lake Victoria and Lake Albert, as well as Lake George. Sunshine is also available in abundance.In order to push ahead with the country's energy transition, the Ugandan government and the local Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), together with the KfW Development Bank, have developed the GET-FIT Programme.
The programme creates incentives for the expansion of renewable energies through private investors.
The renewable energy market becomes more attractive
Previously, the Ugandan energy market, with its low feed-in tariff for energy producers, its risky policy and economic framework, and its lack of capital, was an unattractive place for investing in renewable energy. With support from Germany, Norway, the UK and the European Union, GET-FIT has paved the way for private investment.
Thanks to subsidies to the existing feed-in tariff, investors now find that engagement with the sector pays off. In addition, contractual documents have been standardised in order to shorten approval processes.
Electricity for 1.2 million people
Within the framework of GET-FIT, 17 small power stations with a capacity of up to 160 megawatts are under construction.
The new facilities will raise Uganda’s energy production by around 20 per cent over the next three to five years and will provide energy access to approximately 1.2 million people.
In the summer of 2017, the first solar energy plant in Uganda — and the largest to date to have been developed by a private entity in East Africa — was connected to the grid.
The plant is located near the city of Soroti in eastern Uganda and supplies electricity, with its 10 megawatt capacity, to approximately 40,000 households.
Thanks to the GET-FIT programme, which used subsidies to mobilise private capital, the solar plant was completed in a record time of nine months.
The transformation of Uganda’s energy sector in such a short period is so significant that it is gaining international attention.
Bloomberg Ratings has issued an excellent report on the country, ranking Uganda in second place in Africa in terms of investments in renewable energies.