ENERGY MINISTRY TO DELIVER A 33KV DEDICATED POWER LINE FOR THE KIIRA MOTORS VEHICLE PLANT IN JINJA

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development  will deliver a dedicated high voltage- 33KV power line to improve plant uptime and ensure reliable power connection to the Kiira Vehicle Plant in Jinja, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Robert Kasande ,has said.

Mr. Kasende said the ministry working together with  Kiira Motors management will explore the installation of a  4MW solar power plant on a build, operate and transfer arrangement that will lead to sustainable use of energy resources at Uganda’s vehicles manufacturing plant the first of the kind in the East African region.

The facility is under construction by the UPDF’s Engineering  Brigade through the  national Enterprise Corporation ,(NEC) -on 100 acres of land at the Jinja Industrial and Business park.  The construction  works at 60% are being supervised by Technology Consult Ltd based at Makerere University.

Kasande made the pledges while on a  site tour of the Kiira Vehicle Plant where he led a delegation of  technical officials from the Ministry who included the Under Secretary and Accounting Officer,  Mr. Freddie Emmanuel Mugunga. They were received at the plant site by the Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC)  ,Executive Chairman ,Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa and the KMC CEO, Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi.

While giving an update on the developments in Uganda’s energy sector , Mr. Kasande said that to ensure the evacuation of all the power generated from the new dams, government is expanding the power transmission lines and substations. “These include ,264 km of 400KV, 396km of 200KV and over 1500km of 132KV. This will improve the quality and reliability of power supplied.

He said that government was keen on growing the demand for energy through the creation of industrial parks which are projected to increase electricity demand by 1000MW.  “Industrial consumers can benefit from the rebate system through the design , finance and construction of the electricity distribution  infrastructure to their facilities like the case of Kiira Motors and be reimbursed in terms of energy consumed to cover the cost incurred.

The energy rebate applies to line constructions and extensions by industrial consumers and more information can be obtained from ERA, the PS advised .  He further  noted that Uganda is endowed with both metallic and non-metallic minerals which can be of great contribution towards the development of the country’s nascent automotive industry.  “ The minerals sector will play a very big role in the provision of materials for body , interior , semi -conductor devices among others,” Kasande said.

The PS said the Ministry of Energy is developing a project to address the issue of fuel efficiency of vehicles as well as growing electricity demand through the promotion of e-mobility -a development that is in tandem with Kiira Motors’ production and deployment of fully electric  buses -the Kayoola EVS now offering shuttle services to the staff of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The KMC Executive Chairman Prof . Tickodri noted that  to promote the shift to electric vehicles, there is need for government to  establish charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles within the cities, tourism sites and Entebbe International Airport; explore an incentivized e-Mobility Energy Tariff to catalyze shift to electric vehicles  and set emission standards in consonance with the UNECE targets to improved energy and operational economy in the transport sector while enhancing environment stewardship.

Mr. Eric K. Butiime from Electricity Regulatory Authority , (ERA) implored  the KMC leadership to kickstart negotiations for acceptable low power tariff rates that will help make the KMC products competitive in the global automotive market once the plant is up and running next year .

Prof. Stephen Mukiibi from Technology Consult assured Ugandans that his team of consultants was on the ground to ensure that the UPDF engineers deliver a world class vehicles manufacturing plant as Kiira Motors commercializes its home grown -green mobility technologies and champions vehicles made in Uganda.

MOSES SSERWANGA

Writer is a media and communications consultant And Advocate of the High Court of Uganda

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