President Yoweri Museveni met with George Percy, Managing Director of Cluff Geothermal, at Kisozi in Uganda’s central region on 24th May to discuss Uganda’s geothermal resource potential and the Ugandan energy sector as a whole.
Uganda is East Africa’s third biggest economy. The country’s power production comes largely from ageing hydropower plants, which require further investment to maintain production levels and strengthen grid supply infrastructure. According to Julius Wandera, spokesman for the state-run Electricity Regulation Authority, current national power capacity is 395 MW while demand can peak as high as 450 MW, leading to frequent outages. Part of Uganda is situated along the faulting of the Western Rift Valley, and is likely to have significant potential for geothermal energy production, especially through ‘binary’ systems. This offers the tantalising prospect of geothermal energy making a major contribution to Uganda’s growing energy requirements in the medium to long term.
President Museveni favours government partnerships with private companies in the energy sector and the country plans to spend US$13bn on infrastructure development in the next five years, which according to the President’s office will include energy projects.
“Uganda is a really interesting place for geothermal energy development”, says George Percy. “It is starting from a low base, and most international attention so far has focussed on the ambitious geothermal development plans along the Eastern Rift Valley, but in fact a number of studies and some early stage geophysical exploration have been conducted in the west of the country. Cluff Geothermal are reviewing the opportunities in Uganda to find a method of development that fits in with the ambitions of both the Ugandan Government, as well as the shareholders of the company.”