Monitoring visits after commissioning can ensure continued technical, environmental and social compliance and can close remaining knowledge gaps to improve project sustainability and sector performance.
Continued follow up through supervision and monitoring visits is not only important to ensure continued technical, environmental and social compliance but can also be a tool to continue closing knowledge gaps. This will, ultimately, enable more sustainable projects for the country and can contribute to learning for improved performance of the energy sector as well as agencies with responsibility for the environment, water resources management and social development.
GET FiT Uganda is committed to continued monitoring visits after project commissioning and undertook one scheduled post-COD visit to a commissioned project in 2018 and several unannounced visits. Several post-COD visits are planned for 2019 as more projects will have been in operation for more than a year. These visits are important to follow-up on remaining issues at COD and have already given useful new insights relevant to ERA and other agencies in Uganda; for instance on challenges in handling sediments and minimising related damage to turbine runners as well as noncompliances in releasing and monitoring environmental (minimum) flows in hydropower projects (as addressed in the previous section). Having worked closely with, and benefitted greatly from, ERA throughout the GET FiT Programme, joint post-COD visits also provide a good basis for the final handover of the Programme to ERA.
Originally, post-COD supervision was not part of the Programme scope and budget. However, once the need was established some funding was made available for this purpose. An important lesson for similar projects in the future should be to incorporate post-COD supervision and follow-up in the Programme design at an early stage, particularly in order to secure funds and other resources needed.