This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 3/30/2019

Overview

Uganda’s energy sector attracts one of the largest investments by the GOU and the private sector.  Uganda has a total primary energy consumption of 0.0593 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) that equals 14.94 M tons of oil equivalent (2012).  Biomass is still the most important source of energy for the majority of the Ugandan population.  About 90 percent of the total primary energy consumption is generated through biomass, including firewood (78.6 percent), charcoal (5.6 percent) and crop residues (4.7 percent).  Electricity contributes 1.4 percent to the national energy balance while oil products, which are mainly used for vehicles and thermal power plants, account for the remaining 9.7 percent.
As of 2018, Uganda has 21 power generation plants connected to the national grid.  These plants have a total installation capacity of 927.4 MW and generated 3,855.5 GWh in 2017, an 11 percent increase from 2016.

Generated Energy 2012-2017, GWh
Source: ERA

The Ugandan government is building additional large hydropower facilities such as the 600MW Karuma hydro and the 183MW Isimba Falls hydro project.  At a national level, Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa; 22 percent of Ugandans have access to electricity, dropping to 10 percent in rural areas while rising to 55 percent in urban areas.  Uganda currently has one of the lowest per capita electricity consumption rates in the world with 215 kWh per capita per year (Sub-Saharan Africa’s average: 552 kWh per capita.  World average: 2,975 kWh per capita).  Full commissioning of the 250 megawatt Bujagali Hydropower Project in 2012 alleviated Uganda’s power deficit, and while demand is growing at 10 percent per year, and could gradually outstrip supply again, Uganda has a current excess capacity of 53MW at peak.  Uganda has approximately 14001500 km of transmission lines (over 33kV), which the government aims to double.  There are plans to upgrade existing transmission lines and develop a 220kV ring around Lake Victoria in conjunction with Kenya and Tanzania.

The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) handles power transmission above 33kV.  UETCL purchases electricity from domestic electricity generation utilities on the grid and neighboring countries.  Electricity purchased and sold in bulk and to grid-connected distribution companies within and outside the country.  UETCL purchased 3,867.1 GWh in 2017, a 9 percent increase from 2016.  Transmission losses were 3.9 percent in 2017, a 7.2 percent improvement from the preceding year as the GOU expanded the electrical grid and improved its transmission planning to increase system efficiencies.

Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority regulates distribution with costreflective tariffs.  The average tariff to consumers is $0.17/kWh ($0.11/kWh for industrial users), with the first 15 units of power subsidized.  The Electricity Act of 1999 initiated extensive power sector reforms in Uganda by establishing the Electricity Regulatory Authority as an independent regulator and by enabling private participation in the power sector; reforms have allowed independent power producers to generate electricity and sell it to the grid.
Umeme Co. Ltd. is the largest energy distributor in Uganda, distributing 97 percent of all electricity in the country.  As of December 2017, Umeme's customer base was about 1,106,896, and growing by approximately 16,000 customers per month.  The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) licenses and regulates operations of all electricity operators, and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) provides government support for rural electrification.  The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) develops, operates, and maintains clean energy generation facilities on behalf of Government of Uganda and monitors other energy generation concessions.

Power Africa: Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. It also serves as a one-stop shop for private sector entities seeking tools and resources to facilitate doing business in Africa’s power sector. In 2016, the Electrify Africa Act unanimously passed both houses of Congress and was  signed into law, institutionalizing Power Africa and establishing two goals: to add 20,000 MW of generation capacity; and expand electricity access to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. In bringing together more than 140 of the world’s top companies, development institutions, and financial entities, Power Africa employs a transaction-centered approach to directly address key constraints to project development and investment in the power sector. These interventions aim to de-risk investments and accelerate financial close -- from facilitating project bankability with financing and risk mitigation, to providing technical and transaction support, to engaging with host-government counterparts. Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox at https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/toolbox or other opportunities offered by Power Africa at https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica.
 

Electricity States2014201520162017
Total Installed Capacity (megawatts)885896922943
Residential customers640,025797,205
910,572
 
1,091,179
Commercial customers61,51872,26685,409
 
99,381
Industrial customers3483113,146
 
3,167
 

Leading Sub-Sectors

Renewable energy:  The GOU is working to expand its power supply by constructing a number of micro-hydro projects along the Nile River and is promoting the development of other sources of renewable energy, such as off-grid solar power systems.  The government continues to explore options to develop its geothermal reserves in western Uganda.

Power Africa Support: Power Africa provides broad support to the Ugandan energy sector and in 2017 alone, Power Africa supported 68 MW in small hydro projects to reach financial close.  Additionally, Power Africa is working with financial institutions and concessionaires to mobilize finance, enabling financing across the value chain.  In the off-grid sector, Power Africa is also piloting and rolling out new and innovative off-grid product designs and payment platforms, especially those that tap into digital financial services, with the aim of reaching thousands of Ugandans with new and cleaner electricity.  To maintain momentum and scale up off-grid solutions, Power Africa and our partners are working to improve and/or create a supporting ecosystem for the off-grid market by launching a market accelerator to spur a vibrant marketplace of enterprises.  Learn more about how Power Africa is partnering to address key challenges in Uganda’s electricity sector and supporting private sector investment in energy at: https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/uganda

Opportunities

The GOU is fast-tracking the construction of the Karuma and Isimba hydropower projects (600MW and 183MW, respectively).  The GOU is also constructing other small hydropower plants (Nyamwamba 9.2MW, Siti 15MW, Waki 5MW, Rwimi 5.4MW, Kikagati 16MW and Nengo Bridge 7.5MW).  Western Uganda contains geothermal deposits which have the potential to produce 150 megawatts of electricity.

Web Resources

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Uganda Energy Trade Development and Promotion