December 2020 | Providing clean energy through hydropower in Kanungu, Uganda

Situated in the Kanungu District in western Uganda sits The Ishasha Small Hydropower Project which supports a 6.5 MW small hydropower station located on the Ishasha River. This project is estimated to provide 29.404 GWh annually and will provide clean energy to Uganda energy grid.

Kanungu historically has been an impoverished district with a population of 205,095, often experiencing power outages which disrupt all means of living on a daily basis. Energy poverty is one of the most significant economic challenges facing Africa today. Inadequate and infrequent access to electricity is common to this region. This lack of access to consistent energy constricts the communities potential to develop and live healthy lives. A lack of electricity negatively affects both economic growth and poverty reduction. Without a modern source of energy medicine and food cannot be refrigerated, industries cannot efficiently grow, and children cannot study at night or access quality learning resources. The funding of this project directly prevents the equivalent of 19,027 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year. This project is monitored and certified by Verified Carbon Standard.

Socio-economic benefits

A lack of electricity in Uganda, particularly in rural areas like the Kanungu District, is one of the core barriers to improving living standards and economic opportunities for the local population. It is estimated, according to World Bank-Sustainable Energy for All, that in Uganda only 22% of the population have access to electricity. Projects like this will ensure that this figure increases, whilst safeguarding the future of our planet by providing clean energy. The positive economic impact of the Ishasha Small Hydropower Project cannot be overestimated. Uganda’s rural population remains isolated and without the benefits of adequate physical infrastructure and integration with regional, national and international markets. This reliable source of clean, renewable energy has supported the growth of local entrepreneurs and helped increased the potential for expanding the rapidly-growing telecommunications and manufacturing industries.

Climate solution

Small hydropower systems capture the energy of free-flowing water, without using a dam. They can replace dirty diesel generators with clean electricity generation. Smaller in-stream turbines are different from large hydropower plants which often impede water quality and disturb fish migration. Placed within a free-flowing river or stream, they capture water’s kinetic energy without creating a reservoir and its repercussions. The underwater analogue to wind turbines, their blades rotate as water moves past, generating relatively continuous electricity. No barriers, diversions, or storage are required only limited structural support. No emissions ensue.

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