- E & S
- ACADEMIC CORNER
on the 12th of December 2016, we celebrated the inauguration of the first GET FiT solar plant in Soroti - with a production capacity of 10 MW the biggest in Eastern Africa.
The Soroti Solar Plant project is a very good demonstration on how development partners can deliver better when they efficiently coordinate their efforts. The GET-FIT programme is also a real success in this sense. KfW and the German Government have rallied development partners Norway, the United Kingdom and the European Union around a programme owned by the Government of Uganda, reducing the transaction costs for the Government. This is effectiveness!
The GET FiT programme in Uganda is the first one of this kind in the world. Given its success, it is now being copied in Zambia and Vietnam, whereas Namibia, Ghana and Mozambique have also shown interest in the model.
Such a programme would not have been possible without the strong commitment and the key role played by the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA). I would like here to pay tribute to the former CEO of ERA, Dr Benon Mutambi, who created the model. He designed, together with Development Partners, this innovative scheme of a GET FiT Premium to finance and fill the viability gap for renewable energy projects to be profitable. He contributed to the improvement of an enabling regulatory framework for private sector investment in renewable energy, which is recognised internationally and that many other countries now want to emulate. I am convinced Eng. Ziria Tibalwa, the new acting CEO, will continue to implement Dr Mutambi’s legacy with excellence.
Uganda has recently been ranked at the top of international indexes on investment climate for renewable energy. Bloomberg's "Climatescope 2016" has ranked Uganda 7th out of 55 developing countries worldwide and 2nd in Africa for its clean energy investment climate and policies, showing a steady improvement after already good results in 2014 and 2015. In the October 2016 index from Fieldstone Africa, Uganda was also one of the Big Five together with Morocco and Egypt. These are markets in which investment in renewable energy is compelling. I wish to congratulate the Government of Uganda for this very good result.
Another 10MW Solar Plant will soon be constructed in Tororo supported by the EU and the GET FiT programme. Together with other GET FiT projects (total 160 MW), it is contributing to diversifying Uganda's electricity mix, reducing the current high dependency on hydropower and the need for thermal generation, and thus reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and making Uganda more resilient to climate change.
GET FiT is therefore part of global efforts to switch to full renewable energy sources. At the UN conference on climate change in Paris in December 2015 and in Marrakech in November 2016, the world reached a ground-breaking agreement to limit global warming and accelerate the introduction of renewable energy worldwide. Uganda may hit international headlines for its renewable energy success story.
The next challenge for Uganda is now to bring power to the people. As development partners we welcome the current reflexion about a new policy on electricity access and we stand ready to support the Government of Uganda in that direction.