The European Union has announced a 60 million euros ($63 million) investment to upgrade one of Uganda's most significant hydropower plants, offering vital support for the country's aging energy infrastructure, according to Jan Sadek, the EU's ambassador to Uganda.
The Nalubaale and Kiira hydropower plant complex, located at the source of the River Nile in Jinja, Eastern Uganda, has been a cornerstone of the nation's energy production since its commissioning in 1954, generating approximately 380 megawatts (MW). Earlier this year, South African power conglomerate Eskom concluded its 20-year concession for running the plant, returning control to the Ugandan government.
Jan Sadek, speaking at a mining conference in Kampala, unveiled the EU's commitment to invest in the rehabilitation of the Kiira and Nalubaale hydropower plants. The goal is to enhance the reliability of energy supply, thereby supporting Uganda's industrialization efforts. However, the ambassador did not specify the commencement date for the refurbishment works or clarify whether the funding would be provided as a grant or credit.
Sadek highlighted that the funding would be extended under the EU's global gateways strategy, a program designed to align with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Uganda's energy infrastructure has long grappled with underfunding, resulting in the deterioration of critical components within the network, leading to frequent power outages and infrastructure breakdowns.
As of now, Uganda has an installed power capacity of approximately 1,400 MW, primarily sourced from its hydroelectric dams. This capacity is expected to increase to 2,000 MW upon the commissioning of the Chinese-built Karuma plant on the River Nile later this year.