Message from ERA
The year 2017 has seen the Ugandan Electricity Supply Industry continue to shine as a perfect example of how best to leverage support from development partners to attract and harness private sector capital for infrastructure development. Through the GET FiT Programme, an installed capacity of 158 MW of clean renewable energy shall be added to the National Grid from 17 projects. The projects utilise various technologies for electricity generation, that is, hydropower, grid connected solar P.V and bagasse. I am happy to note that all projects in the portfolio have reached financial closure, with the exception of two hydropower projects which are expected to complete early during 2018, and have either been commissioned or are under construction.
To-date, six (6) of the seventeen (17) projects have been commissioned with significant construction progress registered on the majority of the remaining projects. The commissioned projects include three (3) hydropower plants of total installed capacity 18.1 MW, the two grid connected solar PV projects totalling 20MW, and 20MW of the Kakira Co-generation plant.
The technical assistance offered by the GET FiT Programme to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has continued to bear fruit in form of a clear and well elaborated licensing framework with simplified and well explained licence and permit application forms which have eased the application and due-diligence processes. Project monitoring and evaluation continue to make significant steps of improvement. Capacity has also been enhanced in the financial and tariff modelling function of the ERA. The enhanced capacities and largely improved processes will ensure sustainability of the several achievements registered under the GET FiT Programme.
It is notable that the implementation of the GET FiT Programme saw Uganda become one of the best Renewable Energy investment destinations and gain international recognition. The Bloomberg ratings of 2016 rated the country 2nd best with regard to Renewable Energy investments in Africa. In an effort to maintain the favourable Renewable Energy investment climate, the Authority with support from the GET FIT Programme revised the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariffs in July 2016 in order to sustain the level of financial viability of the potential projects, to ensure that the country remains one of the best investment destinations on the African continent beyond the GET FiT Programme.
In a special way, the Authority appreciates the continued support from development partners towards the construction of evacuation infrastructure for the GET FIT projects. As we approach the peak of construction and commissioning of the projects, the Authority shall continue to prioritise the proper monitoring and coordination of the construction activities for the evacuation infrastructure. This will enable a harmonized commissioning of the power plants and the evacuation arrangement.
The GET FiT Programme has further provided direct and indirect job opportunities across the local communities where the plants are being built as well as professional jobs for experts in the urban centres. Due to the skills constraints within the power and energy sectors, ERA has allocated funds aimed at training more engineers to enhance engineer retention within the sector.
With there now being a potential short-to-medium term surplus in energy supply in the Uganda electricity sector, and associated effects on the tariff path, there is a need moving forward to focus on coordinating and planning investments across the entire electricity supply industry value chain, including the transmission and distribution infrastructure.
The ERA is committed to ensuring efficient and effective implementation of the GET FIT Programme and shall continue to make every effort to achieve sustainable electricity supply for social economic transformation. The Authority looks forward to supporting development partners in sharing the experiences and lessons learned during the implementation of the Programme, as similar programmes are rolled out in other countries.