By Sierra Ruth Arinaitwe
The Government of Uganda represented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) has partnered with AKSA Infrastructure Development to develop Geothermal power project in Katwe – Kikorongo, Kasese District.
The partnership follows the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Energy Ministry represented by the Permanent Secretary Eng. Irene Batebe and the Canada based company, AKSA Group during a meeting that was officiated by the Minister of State for Energy Hon. Okaasai Opolot.
Geothermal power is a form of renewable clean energy generated from areas with heat in the ground.
Hon. Okaasai Opolot pointed out that Uganda has great potential for the development of the geothermal power project because of its location in the rift valley in the western Uganda. This was backed up by the President of AKSA Group Kamaal Samji who confirmed that Uganda has potential sites in places like Kasese -with steam in the ground that can be used in the generation of geothermal power .
Minister Okaasai informed the delegation from Canada that power generation companies in Uganda can now operate independently since the legal framework allows them to generate, transmit and distribute the power to the end user. This he noted will have an empowering impact to the population who will rely on power to engage in income generating activities and improve livelihoods .
According to Eng. Batebe, the development of the geothermal power project is a critical strategy towards meeting the Ministry’s mandate in its 2040 vision.
Eng. Irene Batebe pointed out that AKSA group will be expected to conduct feasibility study and apply for the required licenses and permits. She further assured the AKSA Group that the Ministry will support the process through sharing all the necessary information and facilitating the project authorization needed.
Kamaal Samji thanked the Ministry for the support rendered and partnership stipulated towards potential development of Geothermal power in Uganda. He assured the Minister that the project will provide clean energy solutions for Uganda and will be 100% financed with the support from the International Export Credit Agency.
“The project will be delivered in its predetermined time of 18 months. It will also be developed according to international standards like other power generation plants developed by AKSA group in Takardi, Ghana,” he added.
The CEO of AKSA Group ,Dinu Samji said that the partnership comes at a critical point in time where the world is transitioning towards using clean energy. “As climate is changing, we need to take a proactive role to diversify to clean energy. The project will provide clean energy for Uganda,” he stressed.
Salim Janmohamed, who is the East Africa Project Liaison officer assured the Minister that the project is built for Uganda and will be a locally based initiative run by Ugandans. “There will be a maximum of ten (10) experts, the rest of the employees will be locally recruited and trained to meet international standards,” he said.
The Energy Ministry and AKSA Group extended their vote of thanks to Hon Ajedra Gabriel, the former State Minister of Finance for General Duties for coordinating and being a driving force for development of geothermal energy in Uganda.