Government is planning on enacting a law that will force all Ugandans to use energy-saving technologies, the Energy and Mineral Development minister revealed last week.
Speaking at the sustainable energy forum at Imperial Royale hotel in Kampala, Irene Muloni said her docket was drafting a law that would make it mandatory for all Ugandans to save energy.
“Energy saved is money saved and wealth created. Why should one continue to use a 100-watt bulb when there is a three-watt bulb that can reduce his or her energy consumption by 93 per cent?” Muloni wondered.
She said Ugandans were using energy, mainly electricity, recklessly, creating unnecessary shortages. Muloni added that they would also fight fake energy appliances on the market.
“We are working with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to ensure that fake energy appliances, that use a lot of energy, are rooted out,” she said, adding that government would soon start conducting routine energy audits for large energy consumers, to ensure they used energy efficiently.
Muloni underscored the importance of access to clean energy as a necessary step to fighting poverty. She argued that the amount of energy a country consumed reflected on its level of development.
“We are going to optimise and tap into renewable energy sources like solar; and in so doing, we shall need to enhance the public-private partnership in power generation, distribution and supply,” she said. “We are looking progressively at solar energy technologies that we can get onto the national grid. This will first involve a comprehensive solar energy investment.”
The minister said she was optimistic that when complete, Karuma and Isimba power dams would boost the country’s electricity needs and spare some for export to South Sudan. Government also seeks to tap into wind energy. Already, Senok Trade Combine, a Sri Lankan company, has expressed interest to construct two wind energy plants in northern and eastern Uganda, to generate 20MW of power.
She revealed that that Uganda wants to ensure that at least 22 out of 100 Ugandans have access to electricity by the year 2022, up from 14 out of 100 Ugandans with access to electricity last year. The head of delegation for the European Union, Kristian Schmidt,said EU would continue tosupport Uganda’s initiatives geared towards achieving sustainable energy for all.
“The EU has committed more than Shs 2 trillion to the sustainable energy for all imitative. More than Shs 1 trillion was specifically dedicated to sustainable energy for all climate change activities last year while Shs 358bn has already been allocated to specific projects and investments, expected to give access to electricity to more than 300,000 households,” he said.
Ahunna Eziakonwa, the UNDP resident coordinator, said sustainable and reliable energy was a bold thread to create new opportunities for businesses to grow.