Germany, EU Provide Uganda UGX 136billion for Solar Mini Grids

The German Government and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday launched in Kampala the GET ACCESS Mini-grid Solar Programme, a 35 million Euro initiative to support the electrification of Uganda’s rural areas and contribute to the transition towards renewable energy.

GET ACCESS will provide first time access to modern, affordable and clean electricity to over 110, 000 people, 800 public institutions (schools, health centres, other) and at least 700 businesses in remote rural areas.

GET ACCESS catalyses private funds into development, construction, operation and maintenance of 120+ solar powered mini-grids ensuring a 24h/7d reliable electricity service. The mini-grids installed will approximately add 5-6 megawatts of generation capacity to the country.

Speaking at the lauch of the GET ACCESS Mini-grid Solar Programme, the Germany Ambassador H.E Matthias Schauer said that, “Globally, we are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. This is made more profound in Uganda where there is low capacity to adapt. Projects like the GET ACCESS will provide 100% access to clean and renewable energy to the rural population that is currently dependent on biomass energy.”

”Building on the work by GIZ in another ongoing mini-grid project, this GetAccess project emphasizes Productive Use of Energy. This will stimulate economic activities in the project areas. The project thus not only contributes to national socio-economic development efforts but will also impact positively on people’s livelihood.”

He added that the GET Access project will serve as an important contributor towards the Government of Uganda’s 2030 100% clean energy access target, helping the country towards achievement of at least five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Germany, EU Provide Uganda UGX 136billion for Solar Mini Grids
(5th Left) Germany Ambassador to Uganda, Matthias Schauer, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Eng. Irene Batebe (center), and other officials from the European Union and KWF Development Bank take a group photo after the official launch of the ‘Get Access Mini Grid Project’ at Hilton Garden Inn.

With a contribution of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) of 15 Million Euro and the EU contributing 10 Million Euro, the total project cost will be 35 Million Euro. (UGX 136.2 Billion) Both the Government of Uganda and the private investors will contribute to cover the remaining 10 Million Euro. The funds will be managed by the German Development Bank (KfW). The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) will be responsible for the programme implementation in collaboration with the Ugandan Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA).

GET ACCESS will be implemented through a competitive tendering process whereby mini-grid developer companies, with demonstrable technical and financial capacities, offering the least cost energy are selected. To ensure necessary scale for financial leverage, operation and commercial sustainability, GET ACCESS supported mini-grids will be grouped in up to five (5) clusters across Uganda. The village clusters of Palorinya–Maaji (West Nile refugee settlement), Kalangala and Wakiso (Central Uganda), Buvuma Island (East & West) and Lake Albert Shores have been confirmed for off-grid electrification through the programme.

The tender process shall begin in 2023 and the construction of the mini grids shall start by 2024. GET ACCESS will support selected private companies with a unique combination of upfront and results-based subsidies that will reimburse mini-grid developers for significant portions of capital expenditures and costs to stimulate the productive use of energy (PUE).

The KfW Uganda Country Director, Cornelia Penzel revealed that Implementation of the project will happen through a competitive reverse tendering process in which private mini grid developers who have the required technical and financial capacities to successfully implement the project will be selected. Those who offer the least cost energy will be selected. Potential mini grids sites have been grouped in the aforementioned clusters to reach sufficient scale and ensure commercial viability. The procurement of mini grid developers will commence next year, the construction of the mini-grids shall be completed by 2024.

GET ACCESS builds on previous pilot projects supporting deployment of off-grid technologies and on the recently gazetted Isolated Grid System regulatory framework and its associated guidelines. 

GET ACCESS will contribute to national socio-economic development by stimulating economic activities in the cluster areas by promoting current businesses and future business ventures. Moreover, GET ACCESS will also create a market for private sector driven & financed mini-grid electrification as a viable & ready alternative to publicly financed grid electrification in remote locations. GET ACCES is a Team Europe Initiative contributing to fostering Private Public Partnerships in Uganda in pursuit of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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