Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Energy Sector in Uganda, Experiences of a Fellow!

I have worked in the Energy Sector for over 10 years, which includes the time I was based at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Headquarters from July 2004 to December 2009, where I was the Coordination Manager for the Energy for Rural Transformation Phase I; a World Bank funded multi-sectoral, rural energy and ICT investment programme.
While in the ministry, I was one of the key players behind the Renewable Energy Policy of Uganda 2007. Its main objective was to promote the use of modern renewable energy, through both public and private sector investment and sets of targets of 61% to use modern renewable energy by 2017. With respect to mini hydro-power development, the policy provided a feed-in tariff for project sponsors and a standard power purchase agreement, which significantly reduces the time for project financial closure. As a result there have been investments of over 200 MW in mini hydro-power since the policy was launched.  In this policy, it was also proposed to elevate the Energy Resources Department into a Directorate of Energy Resources Development and to promote the decentralization in energy planning and implementation through the existing decentralization structures of Government, in order to match its large mandate of promoting the sustainable utilization of energy resources. The policy also promoted capacity building and research. Subsequently, Makerere University developed an MSc in Renewable Energy and I was invited to teach the module Energy Policy and Planning, which I have presented for the last 7 years.
In early 2010, I was privileged to be commissioned by GIZ, to prepare a framework for decentralized energy planning and implementation. Later in that year, I worked on the reorganization of the Energy Resources Department into a directorate, again through GIZ/MEMD with Prof. John Munene of Makerere University Business School. This study provided the structure and job descriptions for the various positions in the new directorate and for the districts. It is very pleasing to note that this study was approved by the Ministry of Public Service and has now been implemented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development this financial year.
I later worked as Team Leader on developing National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) against climate change for Agriculture, Energy, Transport and Waste sectors, under the UNDP Low Emissions Capacity Building Project. For the energy sector, the two proposals were: i) the promotion of institutional stoves for educational institutions and ii) the promotion of vehicle fuel efficiency. 
The response of MEMD to the DRUSSA Fellow
When the first seminar was conducted, the enthusiasm was high based on the number of questions asked and the useful comments provided. This level of response demonstrated their appreciation of evidence based research. Emanating from this workshop was the recommendation to develop the new policy on the lines of the Departments in the Directorate namely; Power Generation, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In this respect, I will continue to engage with the Departments to identify key issues and reflect on available and relevant case studies.
This lively response could be because MEMD has grown significantly in staff and in particular the Energy Resources Department, where a number of project interventions have been initiated. Thus there are more young well educated professionals who include engineers, environmentalists, economists and sociologists. Furthermore, some of those who attended the seminar had participated in the DRUSSA workshop on policy planning and development held in Jinja and their skills had already noticeably been sharpened.
The impact of the DRUSSA Fellowship on the Scholar
The DRUSSA fellowship has enabled me to acquire new knowledge and information more readily, about what is happening in MEMD and the Energy Sector at large.  As such I am better informed and thus able to provide more relevant and current examples as I lecture, especially in the MSc Renewable Energy module on Energy Policy and Planning. These include; climate change mitigation (NAMAs), the biomass energy strategy, the new rural electrification strategy and plan, renewable energy, energy efficiency and power generation initiatives and sector performance reports. I can also identify research areas that are relevant and can contribute to new policy directions in the sector.

Eng. Dr Albert Rugumayo is the DRUSSA Fellow at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development

No comments:

Post a Comment