Interventions through GET FiT
Funding sourced through GET FiT for grid infrastructure development and Technical Assistance to ERA has been provided by UK DFID. The table below shows the considered interventions and budgeted investments, followed by a brief status update on each as of January 2018.
Table 2 - Critical grid infrastructure investments and TA
implemented under GET FiT governance
Distribution Grid Reinforcements in Western Uganda
The technical simulations work undertaken by the Joint Task Force revealed deficiencies in the capacity of the pre-existing 33 kV distribution grids in Western Uganda to fully evacuate power from the planned GET FiT hydropower projects in the area. Following the task force’s recommendations, GET FiT proceeded to source and secure funding from DFID to support the government in the implementation of selected infrastructure developments. Under this initiative, new 33 kV lines and associated gear will be constructed to evacuate power from five projects, namely Lubilia(1) SHP (5.4 MW), Nyamagasani I SHP (15 MW) and Nyamagasani II SHP (5 MW) in Kasese, and Sindila SHP (5.3 MW) and Ndugutu (5.9 MW) in Bundibugyo and Kabarole districts. This initiative will therefore connect a total capacity of close to 38 MW to the national grid.
The implementing agency for the line works is REA, which procured a Supervision Consultant to undertake detailed line designs and prepare tender documents for the procurement of the EPC contractors. This activity was completed in 2017, albeit with delays. REA subsequently launched the EPC tender in Q3 2017 to have the lines constructed in two lots, i.e. Lot A for evacuation lines for Sindila and Ndugutu SHPs, and Lot B for lines to evacuate Lubilia, Nyamagasani I and II SHPs. The best evaluated bidders for both lots were selected in December 2017. The EPC contracts are expected to be concluded in January 2018, with construction works commencing in Q1 2018. The estimated construction timeline is 12 months.
The timely implementation of the lines is critical to the Programme. Due to extensive delays in the procurement processes, the current timelines indicate a heightened risk of deemed commissioning, given that the said projects are already under development. All the agencies concerned are working concertedly to minimise the risk of further delays and to expedite construction of the line. A potential risk of further delay is the ability of the GoU to allocate the necessary resources for timely compensations to project affected persons along the lengths of the lines.
The Opuyo high voltage substation evacuates power from the Soroti solar power plant, and is strategically located for the grid integration of a potential pipeline of solar projects in the Teso area in Eastern Uganda. The planned reinforcements include the replacement of the current single 10 MVA transformer with two new 32 MVA transformers and associated high voltage equipment. The upgrade will subsequently improve the grid reliability and provide flexibility for the substation, whose single transformer is a risk to continued evacuation in case of failure.
The UETCL procurement processes for engaging a supervising consultant and EPC contractor for the project have been completed after substantial delays. The project kick-off meeting was held in December 2017 and the substation works are expected to start in Q1 2018 for a planned duration of 16 months.
Figure 1: Opuyo Substation (credit ERA)
TA Support to ERA
The capacity building support to ERA in 2017 through the grid connection support component (funded by DFID) was comprised of three components, as briefly described below. Although funded as part of the grid support initiative, these components are not restricted to grid related issues only, but also introduce wider strengthening of ERAs regulatory systems. Additional TA activities supported by GET FiT which were undertaken and completed prior to 2017 are outlined in previous annual reports.
- Interconnection Code and Wheeling Agreement: This involved the procurement of a Consultant to support ERA in the development of an interconnection code and a wheeling agreement for the integration of small-scale renewables and the wheeling of electricity through the concession areas of various distribution and transmission licensees. The Consultant procured was Intec GOPA. This TA component kicked off in July 2016 and was successfully concluded in mid-2017.
- Compliance Monitoring of Distribution and Transmission Licensees: Under this TA component, GET FiT aims to support ERA in enhancing its capacity in technical, economic and environmental aspects of regulating operational distribution and transmission licensees and to establish comprehensive licence compliance monitoring benchmarks and frameworks. The monitoring benchmarks and frameworks will be based on an assessment of the actual status of all individual licences and the respective power system networks. The consultant procured to implement this assignment was Azorom, and completion is expected in Q1 2018.
- Regulatory Information Management System (RIMS): This TA component will support ERA to implement a state of the art Regulatory Information Management System (RIMS) to enhance its information collection and processing, automate regulatory analysis and compliance monitoring as well as an automatization of interaction with its licensees. A RIMS will ensure that data are collected at required intervals in a consistent format that allows for automated data analysis and improved efficiency of regulatory processes at ERA. The procurement of the consultant is ongoing that will subsequently develop the specifications of the system to be acquired.
(1) Lubilia will initially be evacuated through the existing network, but an overall upgrade of the existing evacuation line under the planned reinforcements will ensure more stable evacuation.