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  • Paul Zakkour

Uganda: formulating geothermal energy policy, legal and regulatory framework

Carbon Counts, with partners, has been appointed by UNIDO on behalf of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), to support the Government of Uganda in strengthening its policy and regulatory framework for geothermal energy development.

Uganda’s geography – located on the Western branch of the East African rift belt – makes it a prime location to consider geothermal power generation. Interest in the technology has been around for a long time based on initial estimates of the resource potential of around 450 MW (in 1982). As such, like many East African countries, the Government of Uganda has been pursuing a strategy for geothermal energy for a number of years. This is also embedded into wider Government objectives to increase the share of renewable energy from 4% to 61% of total energy consumption by 2017, improve system stability and decrease load-shedding, enhance energy security and improve access to energy in a country with low levels of consumption and growing electricity demand (at about 8% per year).

In 2014, a key achievement was the restructuring of the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development and the establishment of the Geothermal Resources Department within the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines. Reinforcing the Department’s capacity will be vital in creating an enabling environment for geothermal energy – in part this can be achieved by more clearly codifying its role in terms of e.g. its mission, mandate, structure and competencies and approach to supporting geothermal investments. The project partners will be working to develop an agreed Geothermal Energy Policy for Uganda, as well a geothermal energy law and other elements of an enabling environment for the technology. Establishing such a framework through a new policy and regulatory regime will strengthen Uganda’s position to attract investors into what could be a vital technology for the country’s continued economic development over coming years.

Carbon Count’s and its partners* will be working closely with UNIDO, CTCN, UNEP, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and other stakeholders through 2016 to support Uganda in fulfilling this goal.

*Shonubi, Musoke & Co; Economic Consulting Associates; Pro-Utility; Norton Rose Fulbright

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