Uganda clearly needs power, but questions remain as to whether its single-minded focus on large dams is the most appropriate approach for the poor, indebted nation. Although less than 10% of the Ugandan population has access to electricity, most citizens could not afford the costly power from the nation’s newest dam, Bujagali, even if they were offered free connections to the national grid. In addition, climate change is expected to make large hydro more risky in East Africa, and Uganda is already dependent on two large dams for meeting nearly all of its energy needs.
Local activists have been pressing for a national energy plan that takes into account the needs of the poor and emphasizes true renewables like geothermal, solar, micro–hydro and biomass. The country has 400–500 MW of small–hydro potential, and up to 450MW of geothermal reserves. Ugandan NGOs believe a commitment to big hydropower now will come at the expense of the rural poor and may preclude Uganda from pursuing better options. Below are a few resources.
Co-gen for Africa program (UNEP)