Libya backs US$175 million renewables plan

North African state plans to create energy from rubbish in Uganda

By Jeffrey Roberts 

Libya is planning to turn Ugandan rubbish into gold. Well actually, into energy.

In a June 15 announcement that comes on the heels of the first East African Energy Conference (EAEC) — held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, June 8-10 — the Libyan government and the Kampala City Council have signed a memorandum of understanding to produce energy by recycling rubbish collected from Ugandan streets.

In a deal worth a reported US$ 175 million, the East African Renewable Energy company will partner with the Libyan African Investment Portfolio to begin cleaning — and profiting from — the streets of Kampala as early as Q3 2009.     

According to the MoU, a plant will be constructed at the country’s Kitezi disposal site. The plant will be built to produce approximately 40 megawatts of energy from the 1560 tonnes of garbage collected daily in Kampala.

“Garbage littered on the streets and residences will cease being a nuisance as it will be turned into electricity and gas,” said Kampala mayor Nasser Sebaggala, in a statement to Uganda’s Daily Monitor. “The team [from Libya] will soon come to Kampala to finalise the deal.” 

East Africa’s waning power supply was one of the hottest topics of conversation throughout the energy conference. According to a team of experts speaking from the EAEC, gaps in legislative policy and failure to identify investment opportunities in sources of renewable energy continue to plague the region and are the root cause of its energy shortage.

Private sector investment has been limited by the public sector’s inability to provide worthwhile subsidies or incentives.

“There is need to establish standard procedures for development of private sector energy projects,” read a statement issued by the Secretariat of the East African Business Council (EABC).

“Most of the current energy policies in [East African Community] partner states offer little or no incentives to attract private sector investment in the sector. Investments in energy, therefore, are still dominated by the public sector, which often struggles to meet increasing demand.”


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