Kampala: During a breakfast meeting of journalists on Thursday, the 23rd at Protea Skyz Hotel, Naguru, WWF Uganda together with the Multiactor partnership (MAP) platform for 100% RE for all, commissioned a study “Towards 100% Renewable Energy by 2050”. This study provides the possible transition pathways based on the current energy mix, energy plans, and programs of the government of Uganda.
These include the business-as-usual (BAU) which considers national plans such as the Uganda Vision 2040 with future developments of nuclear and peat energy; a high RE pathway (RE share of 80% with sustainable biomass limits), and a full RE pathway (100% RE with sustainable biomass limits), highlighting potential energy transitions by 2030, 2040, and 2050.
These scenarios were developed considering the need for all Ugandans to access modern energy services, but also the need to ensure that energy demand is met by sustainable and renewable resources as opposed to non-renewable energy sources.
The results are intended to inform decision-makers, including opinion leaders, academia, civil society, government officials, and think tanks on possible transition pathways towards 100% RE in Uganda.
The report highlights growing energy demand and electrification, ongoing deforestation, and aimed decarbonization to tackle climate change require the extension and transition to a reliable and sustainable energy system in Uganda.
Dr. Nicholas Mukisa during a report presentation
Dr. Nicholas Mukisa, the Deputy National Coordinator, of the National Renewable Energy Platform said that we all want to transition but it is the future and the transition to renewable energy by 2050 is possible. “Everything is possible, it’s us as human beings that limit ourselves on some things. When you look at the transition, and it is a mix of both technologies as we look at utilizing all the technologies available at hand,” he said
“Uganda has successes with solar that can exploited, developed, and utilized, water sources for hydropower, some potential for wind in the Karamoja region, geothermal along Lake Albert, and other sites that are being explored for potential utilization,” he added
With electricity, there is a tremendous advancement as close to 90% of Uganda’s electricity is from renewables and cooking it’s biomass which is also renewable but there is unsustainable utilization of biomass that there is a need to upgrade the way of utilizing biomass to make it more sustainable.
According to Mukisa, sustainable utilization of biomass is required as it does not affect the environment and people have to take into environmental concerns so that there is no deprivation of forests in the hunt for wood for cooking.
“If we can make it sustainable from the grassroots that all the rural communities or rural households take into consideration of utilization of biomass then we can say we are getting there.”
“Most of us are familiar with Charcoal and firewood and when we talk about the sustainable benefits of solid bioenergy one has to be concerned, take into consideration as we harvest firewood, what will you use the next day and the day after. Most of us look at today alone and don’t consider beyond today,” Mukisa insisted
However, the transition is not going to be the same across all households given the levels of income. Some people will still be using briquettes, some might advance to using gas while others use biogas and others are still using charcoal and firewood.
He cited that the biggest challenge remains with the transport sector as it entirely relies on fossil fuels which are petrol and diesel however the government is already taking action to blend biofuels with other petroleum products.
“But as we advance we are going into electric vehicles. There is a taxi exemption on the importation of E-vehicles for one year. So if we can start to advance on these fronts, we will be able to achieve the set targets of transition targets by 2050,” he explained
Yonah Turinayo (WWF Uganda)
Uganda has lost tremendous volumes of area cover for forests and there is a need for people to embrace other technologies or other cooking options and consider tree planting as there is increased pressure on land. “Not many people still have a lot of land to do the growing of trees but where it is possible, please plant some trees.”
According to Yonah Turinayo Energy and Climate programme coordinator (WWF Uganda), to reach the maximum level of sustainable biomass supply through firewood, there is a need for stronger and more efficient forestry management practices by the Ugandan authorities.
Paul Nduhuura a lecturer at the Department of Energy Science and Technology at Makerere Business School said that media has a bigger coverage. “I think, when you look at the different media houses in this country, at least where one does not reach at least there is another one that covers that jurisdiction. If the media plays its role of disseminating information by reporting facts about energy.”
He said that transition will take mindset change and if people are exposed to this information, they will get a chance to get first-hand information about these technologies where their queries and myths will be addressed.
It is a collective obligation that everyone has to play a role where government, industry, the private sectors, and development partners support the government in promoting and advancing the technologies, but the media also has to create a forum where people get information about these technologies.
Commitments by the government
The government is fully in support of the transition where it has developed an energy transition plan for 2050 and it will be launched on the 5th of December at COP28 in Dubai. At COP28, countries will also be looking to commit to at least triple renewable energy capacity to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. More than 60 countries have already agreed to the deal.
It has been developed in partnership with the International Energy Agency. It also launched the energy policy a few months ago and that is the Energy Policy 2023 several strategies have been developed for clean energy, works on green hydrogen, electric cooking strategy, sustainable biomass strategy, and support in the direction of solar where most of them have tax exemptions.
However, there is collective effort and support to transition by development partners and several financing institutions who have committed to supporting the transition by providing finance and other packages like demand and supply financing in the name of result-based financing.
It is a collective obligation that everyone has to play a role where the government, the industry, private sectors, and development partners support the government in promoting and advancing the technologies, but the media also has to create a forum where people get information about these technologies.