Energy Minister Nankabirwa commissions 6 billion solar mini-grid in Lolwe Islands

By Sierra Arinaitwe

As part of government’s efforts towards provision of sustainable and clean energy to its citizens, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon Ruth Nankabirwa has  commissioned a Ug.shs.6bn -600Kw solar Mini-grid in Lolwe Islands, Namayingo District.

The launched multibillion project was a partnership undertaken by government of Uganda which invested over UGX 3.2 billion and Engie Equatorial provided additional equity . This investment seeks to impact on the lives of over 15,000 people with a total of 3,783 connections including 3,026 households and 757 businesses.

While launching the project, the minister observed that government’s promotion of modern energy will unlock access to improved healthcare and education while at the same time improve economic opportunities which will spur economic development on the island.

“I have been told by the citizens during the tour that the electricity is reliable. We are now going to work with the regulator and Engie Equatorial to make it even more affordable so I encourage all the citizens of the island especially the leaders to get their houses wired and get connected to electricity,” Nankabirwa said.

Engie Energy Access’ CEO Gillian Alexander Huart said they strive at offering clean energy access in order to support transformation of economies.  “The electricity targets at transforming the economy through the people. We see the fishermen embracing it for their mobility by using e-boats and fish drying. This leads to increase of revenues and in turn promote economic growth.”

Permanent Secretary Eng Irene Bateebe, noted that as a means of solving low level of electricity connectivity as a major barrier for economic development and poverty reduction in remote areas, government is considering using mini grids in areas which are remote from the national grid since they can supply reliable and grid-like electricity in most villages where grid extension is not financially viable.

“In order to fast-track electricity connectivity and stimulate demand, the government of Uganda, working with the private sector partners, ought to explore innovative approaches that yield accelerated energy access at lower costs. The Lolwe Mini-grid initiative is one such approach that tests the premise that a collaboration across energy market players can achieve faster, cleaner and more universal connections than the grid only approach,”  Eng. Bateebe added.

Nankabirwa noted that currently all the regions of the country enjoy electricity and almost all district headquarters have access to grid electricity apart from the Buvuma Islands which will be connected to the grid by 2023.

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