Energy Minister D'Ujanga Clarifies on Bujagali Dam Capacity

Energy state minister Simon D’Ujanga has today clarified that although the new Bujagali Dam has the capacity to generate 250 megawatts of power that amount of power would only be needed during the three-hour peak period in the evening.


Addressing journalists in Kampala today, D’Ujanga said the 250 megawatts are not needed throughout the day during which less than 250 megawatts would be required.


The minister was today clarifying on the recent statement by former energy minister Hillary Onek that president Yoweri Museveni was duped that Bujagali Hydro power project would produce 250 Mega watts. Onek said that at most the dam would produce 220 MW.


Onek’s utterance has since drawn mixed public reaction with some wondering whether Uganda’s acute power shortages will be addressed soon.


D’Ujanga explained that Bujagali Dam is designed to generate 250 megawatts of power for five hours, but only three hours would be required in the evenings, meaning much of the day it would generate less power, just like Onek said.


The minister clarified that the 250 megawatts for Bujagali Dam is the installed capacity but the actual generation capacity may vary from time to time. He compared it to a 100-bed hotel that at times if fully booked and at times not.


D’Ujanga said the River Nile run-off water has for over 100 years been between the current 800 cubic meters due to factors like drought and climate change and 1109 cubic meters.


He said the present 800 cubic meters of flowing water has the capacity to power the dam’s five turbines but not all would be in use at all times, adding that the fifth turbine helps in meeting peak demands and systems maintenance and reliability, among others.


D’Ujanga revealed that currently Uganda’s power demand constituting a penetration of just 10 percent is 450 megawatts with the monthly demand growing at two megawatts per month.


He said that is why the government wants the construction of the 700-megawatt Karuma Dam to start in March next year to meet the ever-growing power demand.


The minister also said small rural power stations are also being promoted to match power supply with demand.


On the allowance of 50 megawatt power from the Bujagali Dam on the national grid, D’Ujanga said the move is behind schedule and now that will be possible in December because the power dam is still being filled up at the rate of 1.5 meters per day.


D’Ujanga also decried power losses mainly due to power theft now standing at 28 percent and through transmission at five percent. He said Umeme, the power distributors, must work hard and curb the losses, especially the thefts.