In 2021, the state of electricity consumption in Uganda showed a noticeable reliance on low-carbon energy sources, particularly hydro power. The country generated 4.27 terawatt hours (TWh) of low-carbon energy, out of which nearly all – about 4 TWh – was hydropower. However, compared to the global average electricity consumption which stands at 410 watts per person, Uganda’s figures show a significant gap. As a result, this low level of electricity generation may have potentially far-reaching implications. Access to electricity is a crucial driver in any country’s socio-economic development. A lower generation rate could slow down industrial growth, limit the functionality of healthcare facilities, and impact the quality of education, among other factors.
Uganda could increase its low-carbon electricity generation by learning from and adopting the successful strategies of other countries. Brazil, a country with similar geographical features, generates a significant amount of energy from wind - 94 TWh. An expansion in wind energy generation might be a viable option for Uganda, given its topographical benefits. Additionally, India, another developing country, has demonstrated great success with solar power by generating 119 TWh. Given Uganda's equatorial location, solar energy holds great potential. It may also be worth exploring nuclear options, taking inspiration from United States that generates 776 TWh from nuclear.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Uganda has been dominated by the consistent use of hydropower. In the early 1990s, the country began its journey with only 0.2 TWh generated from hydropower. The trend saw a steady increase, with minor fluctuations through the 2000s. Amid these changes, the most significant drop was recorded in 2006 when the production fell by -0.7 TWh. However, this was quickly countered by subsequent enhancements in production. Additionally, starting from 2018, biofuels became a part of Uganda’s energy landscape, although its contribution has been rather inconsistent.