Uganda Plans 50GW Generation Capacity Increase by 2040

US$250 billion of investment will be needed over 17 years.

By Liz Bains on
14th September 2023

Uganda’s Ministry of Energy officially launched its new energy policy on 13 September at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala. The Energy Policy For Uganda 2023 document sets out investment policy for the country’s energy sector up to 2040 with the aim of achieving universal access to electricity and ensuring energy security.

It envisages Uganda’s generation capacity increasing to 52,500MW by the end of the next decade, and foresees a role for geothermal, wind, hydro, solar, nuclear and hydrogen in the generation mix.

The capacity requirement is based on Uganda’s population reaching 55 million by 2030 and 73 million by 2040, from about 44 million today, and aims to support the country's industrialisation plans.

Uganda's generation capacity is set to reach 2,000MW by the end of this year, following the completion of the 600MW Karuma hydropower project. Four of the plant’s six 100MW turbines have already been synchronised to the grid. 

To reach the 2040 generation target, it has been estimated that investment of US$250 billion will be needed, with the private sector playing a major role in delivering this.

A number of legislative reforms have been undertaken in recent years to enable the greater participation of the private sector including the introduction of direct sale regulations (two permits have already been issued), independent transmission projects (licensing for this will open soon) and net metering on distribution side.

Uganda is aiming to achieve universal electricity access by 2040. The electrification rate currently stands at 57%. Some 80% of households still use rudimentary biomass for cooking fuels.

Considerable investment will also be required to expand Uganda’s transmission and distribution networks, especially last-mile connections, with projects needed to be rolled out much faster than in the past. 

By issuing the policy document, Uganda hopes to create a transparent, predictable and coherent environment to attract private capital into the energy sector. Government officials said that the Ukraine war had shown the importance of energy security and resilience.

During the official launch, figures attributed to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development were shared to illustrate the impact of electrification on poverty reduction. It was said that a new road has a poverty reduction impact of -4.48, a new health facility -8.03, and a new electricity connection -10.27.

Work on developing the energy policy began in 2018.

Minister of State for Energy Okaasai Sidronius Opolot described the energy policy as a “bold and transformative step forward for Uganda”.

“Our energy choices define our economic prosperity and influence our environmental legacy and will impact the quality of life for generations to come,” he added.

The Energy Policy For Uganda 2023 document is not yet publicly available online.

Photo: Official launch (Source: Twitter/X @MEMD_Uganda)

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