Ugandan firm Earth Energy Company Limited has been awarded a $993, 000 grant by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) to prepare the first-ever biomass gasification project in Uganda.
The funds will facilitate a complete technical feasibility study; environmental and social impact assessment; a feed and detailed engineering design; as well as project management activities.
SEFA is a $95-million multi-donor facility that supports Africa’s sustainable energy agenda. It is funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy; and hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Amadou Hott, AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth said, “This grant will be instrumental in both the deployment of an innovative technology in an African context, but also in providing a clean energy alternative to a country highly dependent on hydropower such as Uganda. This is the sort of catalytic role and impact one expects from SEFA.”
Biomass fuel is a major source of energy in Sub-Saharan Africa that accounts for about 80 per cent of overall energy consumption.
Hott said that supporting this private project is part of the AfDB’s efforts to increase private investments in renewable energy on the continent which make up less than four per cent.
The project is expected to add 20 Megawatts of baseload power to Uganda’s national grid. It is also expected to provide 15, 000 farmers with an additional income of $720 per person from the sale of agricultural residue and to create 6, 000 new jobs.
Additional environmental and social benefits of the project include preventing deforestation by availing affordable biochar briquettes to rural communities as an alternative to firewood, reducing air pollution and empowering rural women.
Earth Energy Company’s project is a direct response to the government of Uganda’s strategic goal of diversifying the energy production mix in the country. Chairman James Orima termed the SEFA funding a vote of confidence in the Ugandan energy sector.
Earth Energy’s biomass power plant will be the first and largest in East Africa, injecting extra needed power into Uganda’s grid leading to industrialization which will in turn help the country move closer to getting a middle-income status.
The project plantation sites and operation will be located in the outskirts of Gulu Town in Uganda.
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