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The Ugandan Parliament has questioned the government’s continued investment in thermal energy instead of adopting cheaper and cleaner energy sources. The members of parliament urged the government to invest in sustainable renewable energy sources that are environment-friendly, cost-efficient, and reliable, during the recent plenary sitting.
The questioning took place during the debate on the Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) report on the Auditor General’s special audit on the Namanve thermal power plant. The committee chairman, Frederick Angura (Tororo South County MP) presented the report and urged the government to adopt new investments in renewable energy solutions.
Last year in October, the Parliament directed the PAC to investigate the anomalies and inadequacies surrounding the implementation agreement between the government and Jacobsen Uganda Power Plan Company Limited (JUPPCL) in 2007, where the latter was supposed to construct and operate the 50 MW thermal plant for 13 years and later transfer it to the government.
The Namanve thermal plant was eventually handed over to the government through the public utility Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) in February 2022 after a long dispute. Although the legislators believe the project is likely to become a burden and useless.
According to Angura, as a country, Uganda should have a significant investment in renewable energy infrastructure and technologies such as wind, solar, and natural gas, which are comparatively cheaper in the long run. The chairman also mentioned the importance to work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
MP Rosemary Nyakikongoro (Sheema District), said, that the Parliament has already passed a budget for a solar project in Kololo, Kampala and the authorities of the solar plant have said it is working effectively and supplies sufficient energy that will complement hydro energy. Uganda should use solar energy that is free in terms of using the sunlight so that funds spent on the expensive thermal power could be saved and utilized.
Chief Whip of the Opposition, MP John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya County), said the thermal power plants are very expensive in terms of fuel and maintenance. He assured to implore the government to shift and invest in clean energy sources.
“We have lots of wasted wind in Elgon, Kapchorwa, etc. We need to go for cleaner energy that is environmentally friendly and efficient. We have a global challenge of climate change and as we grapple with it, we should minimize greenhouse gas emissions through such clean energies,” Nambeshe commented.