The overall goal of this project is to ‘promote access to and sustainable utilization of renewable energy alternatives for efficient, clean cooking and lighting at national and sub-regional level’.
Currently, only about 26.1% of the households in Uganda have access to electricity (Sustainable Energy for All Action Agenda for Uganda, 2015). The limited access to modern energy coupled with high levels of poverty incidence has resulted in over-reliance on unsustainably produced biomass and use of rudimentary lighting and cooking technologies with serious implications on the environment and the health of the people.
Uganda's energy balance is comprised primarily of biomass (92%), followed by fossil fuels (7%) and electricity (1%). Uganda is richly endowed with a variety of renewable energy resources which include: plentiful woody and non-woody biomass, solar, wind, geothermal and hydrological resources. Presently, with the exception of biomass, only a small fraction of the country's renewable energy potential is exploited. It is estimated that other renewable sources of energy, excluding large hydropower, contribute less than 20% of Uganda's total energy consumption.
Biomass (firewood, charcoal and crop residues) plays a very significant role in Uganda's energy supply. It constitutes over 90% of total energy consumption in the country. It provides almost all the energy used to meet the basic needs of cooking and water heating in rural and most urban households, institutions and commercial buildings. Wood fuel, which represents the bulk of domestic fuel in Uganda, is burnt in inefficient traditional stoves. Improved stoves, kilns and substitution fuels (LPG, kerosene) for cooking are not extensively spread due to their cost, lack of awareness and other different socio-economic barriers. Therefore, Uganda's energy dependence on woody biomass will continue for the foreseeable future due to population growth, urbanization and an absence of affordable alternatives. National Development Plan II (NDP II) has emphasized the need to invest in reliable renewable energy sources to meet the growing demand and to increase access to electricity.
However, Uganda is one of the developing countries with the highest rate of deforestation (total forest loss) rates. Uganda had 5 million hectares of forests in 1990, declined to 3.5 million by 2005 and between 1990 and 2015, forest cover declined from 30% to l0% of total land area. On, average between 1990 and 2015, Uganda was losing 1.8% of forest cover per year (about 200,000 hectares per year). At that rate, it is projected Uganda will have no forests by 2050.
The use of biomass, combined with rudimentary technologies for cooking and lighting such as the three stone stove and kerosene lanterns exposes family members especially women and children to numerous pollutants causing health problems such as acute respiratory infections.