In 2019, the Programme’s focus will be on a close follow up towards the seven hydropower projects that are still under construction. These projects have already been granted extensions beyond the original window for GET FiT funding, and further delays will jeopardise their continued support from the Programme. Demonstrated efforts and progress is therefore key, and the GET FiT implementation consultant will undertake quarterly supervision visits for each project until COD is achieved. While it has already been established that one project will not reach COD until 2020, the other six are still targeted for completion by end of 2019.
To what extent the remaining projects will successfully achieve CODs during 2019 is subject to concerns. Some of the projects demonstrated poor progress in late 2018 and other projects are still facing significant risks related to grid connection. For several projects required grid extensions and reinforcements for adequate connection have not yet been implemented, with unsatisfactory progress throughout 2018. GET FiT will continue to push GoU entities on fast-tracking critical grid upgrades, also in 2019. This is important to safeguard the viability and reputation of the sector and to minimise the level of deemed energy payment obligations on GoU.
While remaining projects under construction are indeed a top priority, the GET FiT portfolio now has ten operational projects that require some level of follow up and support. The first years of operation are typically both technically and financially challenging, which evidently is also the case for recently commissioned GET FiT projects. Some projects are still struggling to evacuate power at full capacity due to remaining grid connection issues. Several developers have claimed deemed energy compensation due to grid outages and are currently in a process of retrieving payments for the same. The performance of Government agencies, network operators and developers themselves through these processes is highly important, and viable working relationships and routines must be well established to last for the next decades. GET FiT is monitoring these developments and stand ready to facilitate constructive discussions if needed. A sufficient level of GET FiT involvement and understanding of ongoing issues is also important from a results-based subsidy payment perspective.
Finally, we are pleased to see that the GET FiT concept is now being rolled out or considered in a range of new countries. For GET FiT Uganda, which is moving towards the end of a successful implementation, it will be important to contribute to the wider roll-out by continuing to share experiences and lessons learned.