Efforts towards Integrated Sector Planning

Experience from GET FiT implementation has indicated that integrated sector planning has not received sufficient attention in the quickly expanding Ugandan power sector in recent years. Generally, it has been observed that the Ugandan electricity sector would benefit from a clearer policy on the role of private and public sector actors and improved predictability in long term sector planning. Integrated generation, transmission, distribution and consumer investment planning would reduce underutilisation of assets in certain sub-sectors or regions. Moreover, improved financial planning and optimisation along the electricity sector value chain would enable more efficient use of funds and contribute to reducing financial costs and technical losses.

Despite the considerable success of the GET FiT Uganda Programme to mobilise private sector investments into new renewable energy projects, several areas of potential improvement have been recognised across the various frameworks and processes involved.

This has particularly been related to procedures for ensuring timely and adequate grid connection for IPPs, as well as electrification potential in the vicinity of new projects. DFID has engaged an external consultant to identify potential measures to improve the framework for energy access around new IPPs and the capacities of relevant GoU institutions. To this end, DFID has identified three key areas for potential future support to ensure the sustainable transformation of the small to medium sized electricity generation market in Uganda:

  1. Possible electricity access for communities close to generation sites
  2. Contracting with developers and provision of necessary grid infrastructure
  3. Environmental and Social Safeguards

During development of renewable IPPs in the GET FiT Uganda portfolio, reinforcement of local networks is being undertaken to accommodate evacuation of power.

However, this does not necessarily lead to increased electricity access for local communities, which is the mandate of either REA or local distribution companies. Introducing local electricity access as an integrated or related component in IPP development can be one way to increase positive economic impacts locally, and to maintain or strengthen local support for IPPs. On this basis, part of the consultant’s scope will be to map out the electricity needs of affected communities and look at how this may be addressed during or after project implementation. Adequate integration of international standards for environmental and social compliance will also be a key aspect in this regard.