Uganda Announces Net Zero Energy Transition Plan at COP28

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

Uganda is set to reveal its energy transition plan at the upcoming 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates. The ambitious strategy aims for carbon neutrality by 2050 and universal electricity access by 2040.

Irene Bateebe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, stated the plan’s objective during a media briefing. It leverages the funding from the nation’s burgeoning oil and gas sectors, positioning Uganda for a secure energy future. “Our approach towards energy security integrates environmental sustainability. While we lean on our oil and gas sectors for financing, our prime focus remains on renewables and decarbonization,” Bateebe explained.

Contrary to many developing nations grappling with the financial hurdles of energy transition, Uganda intends to utilize finances from its new oil and gas sector. This will fund projects that harness energy from wind, solar, and sustainable biomass, particularly for remote off-grid communities. Additionally, the country aims to develop nearly 52,000 megawatts of hydropower by 2040.

Providing a stable energy supply will curtail the prevailing practice of tree felling for wood fuel and charcoal, currently a major deforestation driver in Uganda.

The COP28 strategy encompasses several core tenets:

  • Scaling up renewable energy, notably hydropower.
  • Financial support for reforestation programs aligned with COP26 and COP27 commitments.
  • Guaranteeing universal electricity access by 2040.

Already underway are initiatives like the construction of a 600-megawatt hydropower dam, partially funded by the newly-established Uganda Petroleum Fund. The oil and gas sector is predicted to pump over $40 billion into Uganda’s economy in the coming quarter-century, heralding transformative economic prospects.

Despite a modest carbon footprint, ranking 132nd out of 221 nations in the Global Carbon Atlas, Uganda’s determination to transition is evident. Their oil ventures, a partnership between TotalEnergies EP Uganda, CNOOC Uganda Limited, and the Ugandan government, hold promise. The Albertine Graben region, known since the 1920s for its petroleum potential, confirmed its first commercial oil discovery in 2006. Current estimates suggest 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the vicinity, with extraction set to commence in 2025.

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