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Information about Uganda
Uganda is an energy poor nation with limited access to electricity (less than 10% of the population, 3% in rural areas) and a heavy reliance of wood for the needs of most Ugandans. This is connected to economic poverty and continuing deforestation. A drop in the water level of Lake Victoria in 2005/6 led to a major reduction in the nation's electricity supply and an energy crisis. Uganda has rapidly expanded and diversified its energy supplies away from its near exclusive reliance of two hydroelectric facilities, but still has a supply shortfall. New energy hydroelectric and fossil fuel electric generating facilities are projected to come online over the next few years. Oil has recently been discovered in the western part of the country which will begin producing in 2009/10. These developments should help Uganda sustain the brisk economic growth experienced during much of the past two decades and broaden the access to modern energy supplies. However, growing Uganda's energy supplies include significant financial and environmental challenges.
Access to electricity in Uganda is limited for most of the population. The Ugandan census of 2002 reported that 7.7% of households used electricity for lighting (37% of urban households and 2.6% of rural households) this was up from 5.6% in 1991. In contrast, 74.8% of households (33.3% of urban and 88.2% of rural) were using "tadooba", a form of paraffin candle, for lighting. The use of electricity has despite setbacks in supply, reaching a rising number of people, and the number of electricity hookup is reported to be up 50% since 2002. Most tourist and developed areas rely on back up generators. In 2002, the network provided power to only 33 of the 54 districts of Uganda.
Until 2002, all of Uganda's electricity came from hydroelectricity generated by the Nalubaale Power Station at Owens Dam (built 1949-54) at the outlet of Lake Victoria
and the beginning of Victoria Nile. The facility is rated at 180 MegaWatts (MW). Owens Dam was renamed Nalubale Dam in 2002. Nalubale is the name of Lake Victoria
to the local Baganda people; meaning "Home of the Spirit."
In the 1990s, to meet growing energy needs in Uganda, a second dam and hydroelectric facility (Kiira or Kiyira Power Station) was added about 1 km from the first and fed by additional flow from the lake through a new channel. The facility is rated at 200 MW; although the plan was to run it in combination with the Nalubaale to produce 300 MW combined, and higher amount at peak times.
Peak demand (evenings) is estimated to be about 380 MW and daytime demand about 260 MW. Thus, the two plants were anticipated to cover daytime demand but still fall short of peak demand during evening hours.
Access to generated electricity to further complicated long term contracts to export electricity to neighboring countries; 30MW to Kenya
during off peak hours; 9 MW to Tanzania
and 5 MW to Rwanda
Electricity generation in Uganda show the abrupt decline in 2006 as water levels in Lake Victoria
declined. While hydropower has remained at the lower level, thermal (diesel) plants have made up the much of the short fall; but still well short of peak demand. Source: US Energy Information Administration
Since late 2005 however, the water level of Lake Victoria has been lower than planned and the combined output of the two facilities has been around 135-140 MW, or half of the planned production.
Since 2005, Uganda has rapidly opened three new thermal power plants running on diesel at to diversify its power supply. These are other smaller power projects provide about 150MW, bringing supply up to about 300 MW, still well short of peak demand. These projects were financed by a significant rise in electricity tariffs. In addition, there is about 17 MW of capacity provide from "cogeneration" using biomass by-product from the sugar industry and two smaller hydroelectric plantson the Mubuku River in western Uganda near the Ruwenzori mountains
. In early 2009, Uganda's on-grid electric power supply was:
- Nalubaale & Kiira hydroelectric: 138 MW (average)
- Kiira, Mutundwe & Namanve thermal (deisel): 150 MW
- Kakira & Kinyara sugar works co-generation: 17 MW
- Mobuku I & Mobuku III, hydroelectric: 14.5 MW
In practice, Uganda had about 305 MW of "firm" supply, with peak demand of 368 MW. thus there was a shortfall of 63 MW. This can partially be met by incresing he outflow from Lake Victoria for short periods. However, controlled electricity outages or "load shedding" occurs; although in recent times, this has become less of a factor during daytime.
Uganda has, and continues to, explore many new hydroelectric facilities at other locations. It is estimated that the potential hydroelectric potential is 2,000 MW, nearly six-fold the current maximum capacity.
A 1994 proposed 250 MW facility at Bujagali Falls down stream from Nalubale and Kiiri received backing from the World Bank in the 1990s. However, environmentalists raised numerous concerns, including the loss of the Falls, impact on tourism and fisheries and secondary impacts from the people displaced by the project (the lake formed would flood the Victoria Nile valley back to the upper dams.) The project stalled until 2007 over both environmental concerns and controversies about alleged corruption. However, construction is underway and the project is expected to be completed in mid-2010/1. This project is the most significant energy supply development in the country at the moment.
Another 200 MW hydroelectric project planned for Karuma Falls on the VictoriaNile east of Murchison Falls National Park and Lake Albert
stalled in early 2009 when the developer failed to get financing for the project.
A number of smaller projects are also in various stages of implementation:
- Bugoye/Mobuku II (in western Uganda) - 13 MW (expected 2009)
- Mpanga (on the eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park) - 18 MW (2010)
- Buseruka (in Hoima east of Lake Albert) - 9 MW (2010)
- Ishasha (in Kanungu near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park ) - 6.5 MW (2010)
- Nyagak near Paida in the Nebbi district of the West Nile region northwest of Lake Abert - 3.5 MW (2010)
- Mazibi in Kabale district in southwestern Uganda - 1 MW (2011)
- Nshungyezi/Kikgati (on Kagera River in Isingiro near border with Tanzania) - 10 MW (2011)
- Waki (in Hoima north of Buseruka) - 6 MW (2012)
Hydroelectricity will be supplemented by additional thermal (diesel) plants over the next few years to add another 70 MW of capacity.
These plans represent an major expansion of Uganda's electricity generation capacity and will be accompanied by an expansion of the power lines in the country to support broader distribution. The most significant obstacle is financing such growth; an issue that has stayed sevral efforts in the past. Environmental concerns are also a factor in some cases.
Charcoal and Fuel Wood
Lying beyond the reach of electricity, most Ugandans rely on woodfuel (fire wood and charcoal) as their primary source of energy for heating, cooking and lighting. In the 1980s, local officials estimated that charcoal and fuel wood met more than 95 percent of Uganda's total energy requirements; in 2002 it was estimated to still be 90% Consumption of wood has risen apace with the country's population (increasing at a rate 3.6% per year in 208).
The Ugandan census of 2002 reported that 81.8% of Uganda households (22.4% urban households and 91.4% of rural households) use firewood for cooking and another 15.2% charcoal (66.6% urban households and 7.0% of rural households). Combined, this at totals to 97% of Ugandans using wood or charcoal (89% urban households and 98.4% of rural households)
This single issue lies behind much of the deforestation occurring in the country. It is also a major factor in terms of the productivity of Ugandan household as deforestation leads to increases in the distance and time required to gather woodfuel. The Uganda government estimates that from 1992 to 2000, the average distance traveled to gather fuelwood increased from 0.06 km to 0.73 km. Fuel is a significant part of the rural economy in Uganda.
Petroleum use in Uganda. Source: US Energy Information Administration Uganda imports all its petroleum products and there is, as yet, no production in the country; although some local production is expected to begin soon. Imports come primarily through Kenya
(85%) and Tanzania
(15%) via trucks.The main oil route is from the port of Mombasa via pipe to Eldoret, Kenya,Eldoret in western Kenya and then by truck across the border into Uganda.
In 1999, Kenya and Uganda announced plans to extend the pipeline from Eldoret, Kenya,Eldoret to Kampala. The pipeline, with a capacity of 16,500 barrels a day, would supply petroleum directly to Uganda and indirectly (transported from the pipeline terminus by road, rail and barge) to Rwanda
, northwestern Tanzania
and eastern portions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Construction of the 200-mile (320-kilometer), has been delayed repeatedly but is projected to be completed in 2010/11.
In 2008 it was estimated that Uganda consumed about 13,000 barrels of oil a day and spent $400 million annually on petroleum imports. Consumption, largely based in transportation, rose rapidly in the 1990s; rising by an average of 14% per year from 1993 to 1996, and at about 6% per year since 1997. The rapid rise in consumption is reflected in the growing number of vehicles in the country:
- 1970 40,000
- 1982 45,000
- 1992 80,000
- 2002 250,000
The use of diesel in thermal power plants for electricity generation has also be a significant factor since 2006.
Along with other parts of the Ugandan economy, the petroleum industry was was privatized and liberalized in the 1990s which resulted in a sharp increase in prices and investment.
Several oil companies are prospecting in or near Uganda’s Western Rift Valley
where surface oil seeps have occurred. In June 2006 discoveries at three fields were announced which have combined reserves of 100-300 millions barrels. This is a significant find, but modest compared to the known reserves of Nigeria
(35 billion barrels) and Angola
(5 billion barrels). 30 million barrels are deemed ready for extraction beginning in 2009/10, which would result in an estimated 12,000+ barrels a day. While this is comparable to Uganda's national consumption, it would not provide all the oil-based products that Uganda needs. thus, the country is project to export some oil products while continuing to import others. The building of a refinery to provide some national capacity to process the extracted oil is also under way.
Uganda's 2002 governmental Energy Policy notes the country's favorable situation regarding solar energy:
Uganda is endowed with plenty of sunshine giving solar radiation of about 4-5 kWh/m2/day. This level of insolation is quite favourable for all solar technology applications. Solar energy applications in Uganda include solar photovoltaic (PV), water heating, cooling and crop drying.
PV systems are generally required for applications where modest power needs exist mainly in areas that are not served by the grid. They provide power for lighting, telecommunications, vaccine and blood refrigeration, and for playing radio and television in such areas. This technology has also proven to be very successful in providing energy services to very inaccessible areas such as on islands and mountainous areas where the national grid cannot be expected to extend its services in the foreseeable future.
Government is currently implementing a solar PV pilot project through a financing mechanism that makes it possible for both PV consumers and vendors to obtain credit from banks for solar rural electrification. The application of solar water heating is still very limited.
The Ugandan Electricity Regulatory Authority reported in 2008 that, "the Ugandan government is promoting solar photo-voltaic systems in homes and solar water heating in both homes and commercial enterprises in order to reduce on the evening peak load demand for grid electricity. A proposed 50MW solar- thermal project is under study at Namugoga, Wakiso District."
Despite these recent efforts, solar remains a very minor part of Uganda's actual energy balance.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Uganda's 2002 governmental Energy Policy notes the country's approach to energy efficiency and conservation (an approach that received much more practical support following the electricity crisis that began in late 2005):
There is significant potential for energy efficiency (EE) through improved use in households, industry, commercial buildings and the transport sector. Since expenditure on energy constitutes a large proportion of the country’s GDP and a particularly large proportion of poor household expenditure, it is necessary to emphasize the effective and efficient use of energy. Fuel substitution is important to reduce the negative impact of the use of some fuels on the environment and to reduce the cost of energy services. For instance, substitution in the use of woodfuel with [Liquefied petroleum gas] LPG will reduce deforestation.
The Policy goes on to address the challenges in four sectors of energy use:
The transport sector is the main consumer of petroleum products [note that this has been modified since 2002 with the building of three diesel-fueled power plants) building the accounting for 8% of total imports. Lack of mass transport systems, poor mechanical conditions of vehicles and bad roads are some of the major factors affecting efficiency in the transport sector. Gaseous emissions from vehicles also constitute a significant portion of pollutants in towns and greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the public use mini buses (14-seater) for their transportation. These vehicles are mainly imported as second hand. Over the last ten years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of vehicles. A few buses (70-seater) are used for long journeys. Efficiency in the railways is also low due to inadequate maintenance and poor condition of the rolling stock and the rails.
Industry and Commerce
Efficiency of energy usage is low in most factories in Uganda. A number of factories operate below rated capacity, hence lowering overall efficiency. Some factories use old inefficient technologies (e.g. old boilers for tea drying). Efficiency in industries (tobacco curing, fish smoking, brick & tile making and lime production) in Uganda is low compared to other countries and has an adverse impact on forest cover.
Up to now activities on energy conservation have been limited to preliminary energy audits done by the MEMD in industries and commercial buildings (hotels) as well as efforts to increase awareness among all stakeholders.
Households and institutions
Woodfuel, which represents the bulk of domestic fuel in Uganda, is burnt in inefficient traditional stoves. Improved stoves and kilns and substitution fuels (LPG, kerosene) for looking are not extensively spread due to their cost, lack of awareness and other different socio-economic barriers.
Half the urban households use electricity for lighting (using inefficient incandescent lamps) whereas the majority of rural households use kerosene, which is more expensive. Water boiling is mostly done on electric coils. Other appliances used (refrigerators, deep freezers, air conditioners, etc.) are old and mostly bought second hand and are, therefore, inefficient.
Although agriculture is the main stay of Uganda’s economy, the sector’s fuel consumption is negligible because of the largely non-mechanical nature of the sector. Therefore, energy consumption in agriculture is not usually accounted for in the national energy balance of Uganda. However, agroprocessing industries use a fairly substantial amount of fuel, including fuelwood and heavy diesel. This is normally accounted for under the industry sector. Negligible amounts of diesel are used on the various automated farms. Fertiliser another form of energy) usage is minimal in Uganda.
However, with the recent adoption of the Plan for modernisation of Agriculture, it is anticipated that energy will play a major role not only in the processing industry but also in the modernised farms.
Progress toward addressing these inefficiencies has been mixed. The Ugandan Electricity Regulatory Authority asserted in 2009 that such "programs being rigorously implemented to-date have saved Uganda’s need to install generation capacity of approximately 40MW through energy saving bulbs exercise." The focus of on domestic use reflects that fact that this is the largest consumer. The distribution of electricity in 2002 was:
- Residential: 55%
- Commercial: 24%
- Industrial: 20%
- Street Lighting: 1%
Efforts have also focused on the efficiency of transmission of electricity.
Many have blamed the the hydroelectric facilities for the lowering of Lake Victoria's water level. Further, it has been argued that the outflows occurring violate a 1950's agreement with Egypt
governing acceptable water use from Lake Victoria.In 2006, Daniel Kull, a hydrologist with the United Nation's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction calculated that the lake level were around 45 centimetres lower because of the flows managed for the hydroelectric plants in excess of the agreement. The Ugandan government have pointed to the low rainfall, the greater (but uncontrollable) role played by evaporation, and needs of the country dependent on power from this source. As of early 2009, Lake Victoria's water level remained low and impacts transportation and trade on the lake, fishing, tourism.
Carbon Dioxide emissions in Uganda. Source: US Energy Information Administration
However, environmentalists raised numerous concerns about the new dam at Bujagali Falls , including the loss of the Falls, impact on tourism and fisheries and secondary impacts from the people displaced by the project (the lake formed would flood the Victoria Nile valley back to the upper dams.) These concerns contributed to delays in the construction of the dam but appear to have failed to stop in completion, which is expected in 2010/11.
Environmental concerns about other hydroelectric facilities have occurred at various levels with some impacts such the relocation of a dam site proposed for Murchison Falls, but generally are considered secondary to the goal of sustained rapid economic development.
Carbon Dioxide emissions in Uganda have risen rapidly with increased vehicle use and use of diesel for electricity generation. Emissions per capita are still very modest compared to most other nations in the world.
The 1995 constitution of the Republic of Uganda asserts the government's role regarding energy:
The State shall promote and implement energy policies that will ensure that people's basic needs and those of environmental preservation are met.
Ugandan energy policy has been set at a governmental level by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) which published "The Energy Policy for Uganda" in 2002 and placed energy policy in the context of addressing poverty. The policy noted:
Uganda has abundant energy resources, especially hydrological and other renewable resources, yet there is widespread energy poverty all over the country. There is an urgent need to develop the resourcs and improve energy supply.
Planning for modern energy supply, especially electricity has been limited mainly to urban and semi-urban areas. A paradigm shift in energy planning is required to achieve equitable modern energy distribution.
An inadequate and inefficient power supply system, arising from stunted generation capacity growth, a poor transmission and distribution infrastructure and poor utility commercial practices, has been prevalent. The sub-sector badly needs large investment and prudent utility practices.
Sustainable development is difficult to achieve as it is incompatible with economic poverty that is prevalent in the country. Therefore, Government has the challenge of expanding access to affordable, reliable and adequate energy supplies to address the poverty issues.
Energy development and environmental damage are intricately related. The policy recognizes the need to mitigate both the physical and social impacts created by energy development, especially hydropower.
The Electricity Act, 1999 defined the current framework for energy governance. It established the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to regulate the industry independently of the the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development which is responsible for policy. The law liberalized the industry by ending the state monopoly carried out through the state utility, the Uganda Electricity Board (UEB). UEB was broken up 1n 2002 into three companies for generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The first two are semi-privatized through long term concessions, while that third, distribution, (central to bringing electricy to rural populations) remain in public ownership. Semi-privatized means that the existing assets remained in public ownership, but private companies were given rights to operate the assets for profit while investing in maintenance and expansion. This public-private approach has been the model for new hydroelectric projects like those at Bujagali Falls and Karuma Falls where public and private financing are combined.
The 2002 national Energy Policy sets the main policy goal in the energy sector is as being to "meet the energy needs of the Ugandan population for social and economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner." This goal is followed by five objectives:
- To establish the availability, potential and demand of the various energy resources in the country
- To increase access to modern affordable and reliable energy services as a contribution to poverty eradication
- To improve energy governance and administration
- To stimulate economic development
To manage energy-related environmental impacts
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