1 February 2013 – Uganda’s rural electrification drive has received a US$17.6 million boost from the Dutch ORIO Infrastructure Fund for feasibility studies leading to the construction of 10 mini hydro power stations around the country.
New Vision newspaper report that the support will bolster efforts to increase access to electricity in the rural areas from 1% to over 10% through the use of renewable energy solutions such as small hydro’s, solar and biogas.
Energy minister Irene Muloni is set to launch the project, commencing with an 18 month feasibility study of sites around the country costing US$1.2 million followed by a US$32.8 million construction phase.The mini hydro sites will be concessioned to the private sector after construction.
Roy Nyamutale Baguma, the transaction execution manager at the Uganda Energy Credit Capitalisation Company (UECCC), says the funds will be used to fund mini hydro power stations of up to 1.5 MW each.
Currently, power demand in Uganda is estimated at 445 MW and growing rapidly each year. The country requires an additional 50 MW each year to avoid load shedding. “The studies will commence in February 2013 for 18 months and will be undertaken by Royal Haskoning, an international engineering and consulting company,” Nyamutale says.
After the development phase, ORIO will have to reconfirm its matching support of 50% to the implementation/ construction phase of the 10 mini hydro power stations. Upon completion, up to 347,000 households will be connected to the grid, allowing rural populations to read and write at lower costs. About 800 small and medium size enterprises will be connected.
The addition of over 10Mw from this project will supplement on-going efforts to produce some 71.8 MW from Kakira (12 MW), Kikagati (10 MW), Bugoye (13 MW), Mpanga (18 MW), Ishasha (6.0 MW), Buseruka (9.0 MW), Nyagak (3.5MW) and Kisiizi (0.3MW).