Technical Assistance provided under GET FiT
Implementation of the GET FiT Technical Assistance (TA) Facility (see chapter 1.2 for a general description) has progressed well in 2015. Notably, the components of the initial TA toolbox have nearly been completed and new components have been introduced as part of the interconnection support. TA activities conducted throughout the year include:
- Tariff modelling
The Tariff Modelling TA provided by UNEP - Frankfurt School of Management and Finance was perceived very positively by ERA, in particular due to the broader aspects of tariff modelling and economic regulation addressed by the consultant experts. The remaining component – Review of Financial Models for Large Hydro projects – will be implemented in February 2016.
- Interconnection Code and Wheeling Agreement
Upon inclusion and launch of the Interconnection Component under GET FiT, additional funds were allocated for associated technical assistance. Based on discussions with ERA, it was decided that a consultant should be procured for the development of an interconnection code and a wheeling agreement. Both components are integral steps for the further consolidation of the Uganda electricity supply industry. The interconnection will address technical requirements for the interconnection of small-scale generators, which are insufficiently covered by the existing grid code. The wheeling agreement will define responsibilities and associated costs for the wheeling of electricity through distribution networks to the offtaker UETCL. The consultant will be procured in the first quarter of 2016 and commence activities shortly thereafter.
- Compliance monitoring
An additional consultancy currently under procurement is technical assistance for optimization of license compliance monitoring for distribution companies and the transmission company (UETCL). This activity is also financed under the GET FiT interconnection support component. The consultancy is of utmost importance to ERA as the regulator does not possess reliable data on the status and performance of distribution and transmission networks. This inhibits effective regulation of these sectors. The particular focus of this consultancy will therefore be the technical assessment of the network and the collection of actual performance data. The consultant is expected to develop a compliance monitoring framework, which will ensure efficient maintenance, operation and investments into these networks in the future. Targeted capacity building for ERA staff in aspects of technical and economic regulation of the transmission and distribution sector will also be provided. Considering ERA´s challenges concerning increasing access and reliability of the networks, this training will be an important step for further development and consolidation of the electricity supply industry.
In general, it is prudent that TA to ERA is adapted more towards grid issues given their increased importance for the GET FiT programme. A sustained political focus on generation has most likely left grid development underprioritized to some extent. While grid infrastructure is now a major component of GET FiT support, the capacity of ERA to monitor operational compliance will be equally important to ensure a successful lifetime for the interconnected projects.
Uganda ranked 3rd in Africa on clean energy
Undoubtedly, GET FiT has played an important role in this achievement, both in terms of facilitating private investment through a tailor-made support mechanism, but also through comprehensive technical assistance to ERA and continuous technical support to project developers. Most of GET FiT’s work with developers has centred on achieving compliance with high environmental and social standards. Hopefully this will contribute to a sustainable utilization of Uganda’s vast potential for small-scale renewables.