As of 2021, the availability and consumption of electricity in Uganda remains significantly lower compared to global averages. With a total energy consumption of nearly 11 watts per person, Ugandans have access to far less electricity than the global average of 412 watts per person. Low-carbon energy sources, such as hydropower and solar, dominate electrical energy generation, producing a little over 10.6 watts per person. Hydropower is particularly significant, generating nearly all of Uganda's low-carbon power at close to 10 watts per person, while solar adds a modest 0.37 watts per person. Fossil fuel and biofuel add very little to Uganda's electricity supply, at 0.32 and 0.3 watts per person respectively. With electricity generation this low, it is likely affecting the quality of life and economic development in the country. It's notable that Uganda neither imports nor exports electricity from other countries or regions.
There are a number of ways in which Uganda could increase its electricity generation, particularly from low-carbon energy sources. Countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Uruguay, where wind energy generates a substantial fraction of their electricity, could provide valuable lessons. Denmark, for instance, generates 369 watts per person with wind energy, a significant contrast to Uganda's total energy generation. Building on its existing hydropower base, Uganda could also broaden its low-carbon energy scope to include more wind and solar, drawing inspiration from Ireland and Australia respectively. However, with good governance and adoption of new technologies, Uganda could also investigate the possibility of nuclear energy as a core power source, following the examples of Sweden and France, where nuclear energy generates over 500 watts per person.
With regards to the history of low-carbon electricity in Uganda, hydropower has been at the core of its development. There has been a steady but modest growth in hydroelectric power since 1992, with periodic increments of around 0.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) almost every year, except for 2006 when there was a substantial reduction of 0.7 TWh, and 2013 and 2016 when hydroelectric power saw notable enhancements of 0.9 TWh. Along the journey, the evolution of other low-carbon energy sources like biofuels is rather recent and has been a mixed bag. Introduced in 2018, biofuels saw a start with a contribution of 0.2 TWh, but experienced a reduction in 2019 and hasn't shown much of a significant presence in Uganda's energy portfolio so far. This historical pattern suggests that while Uganda's efforts at growing its low-carbon energy sector have not been fruitless, there remains significant work to do in diversifying its energy sources and upscaling generation.