Energy in Uganda
Burning of renewable resources provides approximately 90 percent of the energy in Uganda, though the government is attempting to become energy self-sufficient. While much of the hydroelectric potential of the country is untapped, the government decision to expedite the creation of domestic petroleum capacity coupled with the discovery of large petroleum reserves holds the promise of a significant change in Uganda's status as an energy-importing country.
In the 1980s, charcoal and fuel wood met more than 95 percent of Uganda's energy needs. In 2005 and 2006, low water levels of Lake Victoria, the main source of the country's electricity generation potential, led to a generation shortage and an energy crisis. As a result, the country experienced frequent and prolonged blackouts. As of June 2016, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, about twenty percent of Ugandans had access to electricity. As of February 2015 and according to the Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority, Uganda's installed electricity capacity was 810 megawatts, with peak demand of 509.4 megawatts so that "the incidence of load shedding due to shortage in supply is now close to zero." By July 2016, according to Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited, the generation capacity had increased to 862 megawatts. Uganda expects to have a generating capacity of at least 1,681 megawatts by the end of 2020.
Poor maintenance during the politically unstable 1980s resulted in a drop in production at the Owen Falls Dam (now Nalubaale Power Station), at the mouth of the White Nile, from 635.5 million kilowatt-hours in 1986 to 609.9 million kilowatt-hours in 1987, with six of ten generators broken by the end of 1988. The 200 megawatt Kiira Hydroelectric Power Station, built adjacent to the Nalubaale Power Station, raised total production capacity to 380 megawatts.
Between 2007 and 2012, the 250 megawatt Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station was constructed as a public-private project, at a cost of approximately US$862 million. The consortium that owns the station includes the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Sithe Global Power LLC (a subsidiary of the Blackstone Group), and the government of Uganda. Bujagali Energy Limited is a special-vehicle company created to run the power station on behalf of the shareholders.
In October 2013, construction of the 183 megawatt Isimba Power Station began, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) downstream of Bujagali, at a budgeted cost of approximately US$590 million, as a public enterprise with funding from the Export-Import Bank of China. Commissioning is planned during the second half of 2018, although power generation may begin as early as 2016.
Also in 2013, work on the 600 megawatt Karuma Power Station commenced at a budgeted cost of about US$2 billion, including US$250 million to build the high-voltage transmission lines to evacuate the generated power. Completion is planned for late 2018.
As of May 2015[update], about six operational mini-hydropower plants are connected to the national electricity grid, supplying about 65 megawatts. These include Nyagak I (3.5 megawatts), Kabalega (9 megawatts), Kanungu (6.6 megawatts), Bugoye (13 megawatts), Mubuku I (5 megawatts), Mubuku III (10 megawatts), and Mpanga (18 megawatts).
Two heavy fuel-oil thermal power stations exist in the country.
Namanve Power Station is a 50 megawatt plant owned by Jacobsen Electricity Company (Uganda) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jacobsen Elektro, an independent Norwegian power production company. The plant cost US$92 million (€66 million) to build in 2008.
Tororo Power Station is a 70 megawatt heavy fuel-oil powered plant owned by Electro-Maxx Limited, a Ugandan company and a subsidiary of the Simba Group of Companies, owned by Ugandan industrialist Patrick Bitature. This plant is licensed to sell up to 50 megawatts to the national electricity grid.
Namanve and Tororo are used as stand-by power sources to avoid load-shedding when hydropower generation fails to meet demand.
Five sugar manufacturers in Uganda have total cogeneration capacity of about 110 megawatts, of which about 50 percent is available for sale to the national grid. The cogeneration power plants and their generation capacities include Kakira Power Station (52 megawatts), Kinyara Power Station (40 megawatts), Lugazi Power Station (14 megawatts), Kaliro Power Station (12 megawatts) and Mayuge Thermal Power Station (1.6 megawatts).
Oil and natural gas
The governments of Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda are jointly developing the Kenya–Uganda–Rwanda Petroleum Products Pipeline to carry refined petroleum products from Mombasa through Nairobi to Eldoret, all in Kenya. From Eldoret, the pipeline will continue through Malaba to Kampala in Uganda, continuing on to Kigali in Rwanda. The feasibility study for the Eldoret to Kampala pipeline extension was awarded to an international firm in 1997. The study was completed in 1998 and the report submitted the following year. The separate feasibility study for the Kampala to Kigali extension was awarded to the East African Community in September 2011. The governments of Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda accepted the findings of the studies. The construction contract was initially awarded, in 2007, to Tamoil, a company owned by the Government of Libya. That contract was voided in 2012 after the company failed to implement the project. As of April 2014[update], fourteen companies had submitted bids to construct the pipeline extension from Kenya to Rwanda. Construction is expected to begin in 2014, with a 32-month construction timeframe. Commissioning is expected in 2016.
In 2006, Uganda confirmed the existence of commercially viable petroleum reserves in the Western Rift Valley around Lake Albert. In June 2006, Hardman Resources of Australia discovered oil sands at Waranga 1, Waranga 2, and Mputa. President Yoweri Museveni announced that he expected production of 6,000 bbl/d (950 m3/d) to 10,000 bbl/d (1,600 m3/d) by 2009.
In July 2007, Heritage Oil, one of several companies prospecting around Lake Albert, raised its estimate for the Kingfisher well (block 3A) in Bunyoro, Hoima District, stating they thought it bigger than 600 million barrels (95,000,000 m3) of crude. Heritage's partner, London-based Tullow Oil, which had bought Hardman Resources, was more guarded, but stated their confidence that the Albertine Basin as a whole contained over one billion barrels. The Kingfisher-1 well flowed 13,893 barrels per day (2,208.8 m3/d) of 30-32 API oil.
This news came on the heels of Tullow's 11 July 2007 report that the Nzizi 2 appraisal well confirmed the presence of 14 million cubic feet (400,000 m3) per day of natural gas. Heritage in a report to its partners talked of Ugandan reserves of 2.4 billion barrels (380,000,000 m3) worth $7 billion as the "most exciting new play in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade." However, development will require a 750 miles (1,210 km) pipeline to the coast, which will need $80 oil to justify. Relations between Uganda and the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been tense since the discovery of oil, as both countries seek to clarify the border delineation on the lake in their favor, in particular the ownership of small Rukwanzi Island. Ugandan foreign minister Sam Kutesa made an emergency visit to Kinshasa in an attempt to smooth tensions.
The Economist magazine, noting that the DRC has assigned exploration blocks on its side of the border, proposed that the situation should sort itself amicably: Uganda needs a stable and secure border in order to attract foreign investment developing the oil reserves, while the cost of transporting the oil to the DRC's sole port at Matadi is so prohibitive that the Congolese government is nearly obliged to seek pipeline access through Uganda.
After an initial period of disagreement between the Government of Uganda and the petroleum exploration companies, the two sides agreed in April 2013 to simultaneously build a crude oil pipeline to the Kenyan coast (Uganda–Kenya Crude Oil Pipeline) and an oil refinery in Uganda (Uganda Oil Refinery).
In February 2015, the Ugandan government selected the consortium led by Russia's RT Global Resources as the winning bidder, to construct the refinery. The government was expected to begin in-depth negotiations with the winning bidder for a binding agreement to construct the refinery. The negotiations were expected to last about 60 days. If the parties fail to agree on terms, the government plans to negotiate with the losing bidder, the consortium led by SK Energy of South Korea, to construct the refinery. Construction is expected to commence during the second half of 2015.
To diversify the national energy pool, the Electricity Regulatory Authority in December 2014 licensed two solar power stations, each with capacity to generate 10 megawatts. The stations, Tororo Solar Power Station and Soroti Solar Power Station, are expected to come online no later than December 2015.
- Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development
- Electricity Regulatory Authority (Uganda)
- List of power stations in Uganda
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