- E & S
- ACADEMIC CORNER
Another progressive year
Following the breakthrough year of 2015 when the first six hydropower projects started construction after several delays, 2016 was another highly progressive year for the GET FiT Program. Notably, the Soroti solar PV project was commissioned as Uganda’s first on-grid solar power plant. Further to this, four additional hydropower plants and one solar plant commenced full construction activities during the past year.
Thus, ten GET FiT hydropower projects are currently under construction. Of these 10 projects, four – six schemes (depending on construction progress) are expected to reach commercial operation within 2017. Finally, the remaining four hydropower projects in the portfolio which are still at the development stage are all expected to break ground within the first half of 2017.
Break-through on project financing
In 2016 an encouraging eight projects (six hydropower and two solar) reached the critical milestone of financial close, bringing the total to ten out of seventeen. While several projects had already started construction prior to closing financial arrangements (using equity), it is vital to the sustainability of the portfolio and its ability to achieve targets, that most projects are now financially closed. This achievement confirms the progress of Uganda’s renewable energy investment climate in recent years.
First hydropower commissioning coming up
Entering 2017, the Program is on the verge of celebrating the commissioning of the first hydropower plants in the GET FiT portfolio. Muvumbe (6.5 MW) and Siti I (6.1 MW) are both expected to become operational in March. This will mark an encouraging start to the operationalization of our hydropower portfolio and emit positive signals to other developers and the sector as a whole. The ongoing construction of Siti 1 SHP is progressing well. Although the project was largely on track to be the first hydropower project to commission in late 2016, the project has experienced delays in shipping of critical materials. Muvumbe SHP was also on target for commissioning in 2016, but has been delayed by a range of external factors, including
The table below provides a brief updated status on key project milestones across the portfolio. Green cells indicate that a milestone has been achieved. The expected dates for key milestones that have not yet been achieved are otherwise shown. Only three projects have not obtained generation licenses, while five are still negotiating for PPAs.
Table 1 Project milestones