Uganda: Govt Asked to Put in Place Policies for Sustainable Biomass Value Chain

9 December 2020

Conservationists have asked the government to prioritize the development and implementation of policies to promote a sustainable biomass value chain in the country.

They proposed for the use of efficiently produced biomass fuels and efficient cooking and conversion devices at both household and industrial levels.

"High, inefficient and unregulated use of solid biomass energy is predominant in the country, which poses a key limitation to attaining sustainability in the energy sector," said Mr David Duli, the country director for World Wide Fund, a local conservationist organization.

Speaking at the inauguration of the energy week in Kampala, Mr Duli also asked the government to put in place and enforce policies, legislation and regulations that manage environmental and social impacts of extractives.

The energy week under the theme 'Energy and Minerals for industrialization, job creation and shared prosperity' seeks to disseminate information in relation to strides made towards achieving the nation development priorities with respect to the sector.

"Government and private sector should increase financing and investments in off-grid electricity infrastructure that can supply remote off-grid areas, as well as grid-proximate consumers who currently cannot grid costs, with affordable electricity," Mr Duli said.

According to Mr Duli, Uganda is endowed with abundant renewable energy potential from sources such as biomass, water and sun which need to be sustainably harnessed.

A 2015 energy report for Uganda shows that it is possibly for the country to meet 100 percent of its energy needs are from renewable resources.

The suggested scenario was developed not only considering the need for all Ugandans to access modern energy services but also the need to ensure that energy demand is met by sustainable and renewable energy resources as opposed to non-renewable energy.

State minister for energy, Eng Simon D'ujanga said that energy such as electricity, petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and oil, and other forms including solar, wind, firewood, charcoal and geothermal drive production.

On sustainable clean cooking, the minister said that there is need to safeguard the forests and trees from which firewood and charcoal are got for cooking and that government is working on plans to make cooking gas and electricity affordable for cooking.

"Affordable power consumption and reliability for industrialization. This has always been the focus of government and power will increasingly become cheaper when Karuma comes on line and some minimal electricity sector reforms," said Eng D'ujanga.

According to the minister, the current government policy is to promote in-country mineral value addition as opposed to export of raw minerals.

"Government recognises that biomass in form of firewood, charcoal and crop residues has continued to be the main source of cooking energy in Uganda whereby cooking energy share stands at 97 percent biomass fuels," he added.

Eng D'ujanga said that in view of mitigating against accelerated deforestation, government is promoting the use of alternative, clean and modern cooking solutions such as electric pressure cooking and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) at household level.

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