Renewable Energy Opportunities
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1.1 Large Hydro
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 unexploited potential is well over 1300MW. Table 1 shows the potential capacity of the identified large hydropower sites along the Nile River which have potential for development.
The development of large power projects along the River Nile are developed by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Table 1: Large Hydropower Sites along the Nile River
|No||Site||Location||Potential Capacity (MW)||Status|
|1||Murchison Falls (Uhuru)||Nwoya/Bulisa||642||Preliminary studies available with MEMD. This site is located in a national park.|
|2||Kiba||Nwoya/Masindi||295||Preliminary studies are available with MEMD.|
1.2 Small Hydro
Small hydro presents a category of energy sources which could sustainably contribute to enhancement of rural electrification especially if the project area has no existing power distribution. The table below shows small hydropower sites that are available for development.
It is important to note that the above list is not in any way conclusive or representative of the available potential. Intending developers are encouraged to scout for potential sites in the Eastern part of Uganda (The Mountain Elgon region) and the Western Districts of Ibanda, Rubiriizi, Buhweju, Kabale, Kisoro, Kabarole and Rukungiri.
Although several sites have been identified and Licensed from the Mountain Rwenzori ranges, the mountains still represent a very high untapped potential for small hydropower.
Table 2: Available micro hydro power sites for development
|No||Site||District||Estimated Capacity (MW)|
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 bagasse, 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. Click here for a map of the biomass distribution in Uganda.
Geothermal energy is one of the possible alternative renewable energy sources in Uganda which could supplement other sources of energy.
More than 40 geothermal sites were studied for their prospects parameters like temperature, chemistry of reservoir, natural heat transfer and fluid characteristics to identify specific project areas and prioritize those for more detailed investigation. These 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. The major geothermal sites and respective locations are indicated in here and table 3 below.
|District||Site Name||Temperature (ºC)||Remarks|
Surface temp: 71 ºC
Inferred Reservoir temp: 150-230 ºC
|The results obtained from surface studies carried out so far have provided sufficient information for development of geothermal energy program. Katwe-Kikorongo site has been selected for drilling of a first geothermal well in Uganda. The site has occurrence of a medium to high temperature resource.|
Surface temp: 97 ºC
Inferred Reservoir temp: 120-150 ºC
|The results obtained from surface studies carried out so far indicate that Nyansimbe and Mumbuga in Buranga (Sempaya valley) have the highest surface heat output among the thermal prospects considered and provide sufficient information for the development of geothermal energy program|
|Kibiro||Kibiro||Surface temp: 84 ºC
Inferred Reservoir temp: 200 ºC and above
|The results from surface studies indicate that Kibiro site has moderate surface heat output among the thermal prospects considered, and provided sufficient information for development of geothermal energy program.|
Source: Report on the Renewable Energy Resource Information Development and Capacity Building Assessment in Uganda by Kamfor Company Limited, January 2007
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. Click here for a map showing solar energy availability in Uganda.
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 energy.
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.
4.1 Implementation of grid-connected Solar PV projects in Uganda through competitive bidding
Continuous technological advancements have resulted into cheaper and more efficient solar photovoltaic technology worldwide. Benefits from these improvements can only be realized through effective management of the cost of production of electricity from this resource. Competitive procurement of such capacity is one of the most effective means of guaranteeing reasonable and fair pricing of solar power, as well as harnessing the benefits of such modular technologies, including system loss reduction and voltage stability.
From a technical perspective, solar photovoltaic generation is associated with frequent power swings owing to its intermittent nature. This therefore calls for accurate determination of the extent to which the national electricity grid can accommodate power from solar without adversely affecting the quality of power supply. To this effect, extensive studies are currently being conducted by the System Operator, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited.
The major outcome of these studies will be the determination of the optimal amount of grid-connected solar power that can be accommodated by the national electricity grid without causing power evacuation and grid stability challenges. The findings will inform the Authority on the amount of solar power that can be competitively tendered out in the medium and long term.
Accordingly, the public is hereby notified that with effect from 1st January 2015, procurement of new capacity from solar technology will be subject to a competitive tendering process initiated by the ERA in accordance with the Electricity Act, 1999 Chapter 145, Laws of Uganda. See copy of the public notice
Recent studies indicate that the wind speed in most areas of Uganda is moderate, with average wind speeds in low heights (less than 10 m) ranging from 2 m/s to about 4 m/s. Based on wind data collected by the Meteorology Department, it was concluded that the wind energy resource in Uganda is only sufficient for small scale electricity generation and for special applications, such as water pumping mainly in the Karamoja region. Small industries in rural areas where targets for a mill range from 2.5kVA to 10kVA could benefit from the wind resource. Click here for a map showing wind energy availability in Uganda
6 Waste to Energy
The conversion of municipal waste to energy will not only improve the process of waste management in the cities, but also contribute to the energy mix. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, it is estimated that Kampala city alone generates 730,000 tons of waste per year, of which 70% is organic waste. There are major districts around the country with considerable waste volumes such as Wakiso, Mbarara and Jinja, all of which represent considerable waste to energy potential.
Peat is not technically a renewable energy source. However, a theoretical peat volume of about 250 Million tons exists in Uganda (Source: The Renewable Energy Policy for Uganda, November 2007). Taking into consideration the varying quality of peat, the rather strict wetland policy in Uganda as well as the impossibility to use conventional peat production methods, only 10% of the available volume may be available for power generation. This peat resource volume would be adequate for generation of about 800 MW for the next 50 years. Available peat resources are dispersed mainly to Western and South-Western Uganda, where the desired characteristics are better than in other regions.