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100% Renewable Energy Champion District

Kasese Uganda, Photo credit: Bazil Kaheru

Old Kasese Train Station. Photo credit: Michael Branz / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-2.0

100% renewable energy goal:
100% Renewable Energy Community Wide by 2020

Kasese, Uganda

Kasese is a District of 700,000 inhabitants located in western Uganda. and bordered by protected areas including Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mt. Rwenzori National Park, Lakes Edward and George and several forest reserves.  The population is not wealthy and typically lacks access to affordable modern energy. Only 7.6% have grid access, according to one of the renewable energy project managers serving the District. Many inhabitants have limited road access that make connecting to the grid virtually impossible. According to the national census, the population approximately doubled between 2002-2014, making it one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country. Nearly all households in Kasese are reported to burn wood and charcoal as their primary source of energy. . According to a 2011 study by WWF-UCO, the vast majority of households also use kerosene (also called paraffin) for lighting their homes.

Because of the great need for affordable, sustainable energy, and regardless of the many steep, challenges, Kasese has embarked on a program titled "Champion District on Energy Access," which aims to supply 100% renewable energy to its 120,000 households by 2020 using efficiency and resources like biomass, solar, geothermal, and small hydro, with fecal waste used in the meantime as a transition fuel. Kasese was selected through an open, multi-stakeholder process led by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The program is being implemented in the context of national plans to increase access to renewable energy in Uganda from only 4% in 2007 to 61% in 2017. The federal government offers guidelines and policy frameworks to support Kasese's effort.

A number of programs have been implemented or are being planned in Kasese to begin to transition the community to sustainable renewable energy use. The primary focus has been the lighting and cooking sectors.

For example, the Ugandan organization Action for Development reports that it has built thousands of high efficiency stoves and hopes that mass delivery will help Kasese reach its 100% renewable energy goal and become a model for other towns.

In Fall 2012, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Uganda partnered with Barefoot Power Uganda in a program called Light Up a Village to bring 100 solar home systems to Kasese.  Because solar is more cost effective and cleaner than kerosene, WWF has concluded that replacing kerosene with solar in Kasese could save  over 6,490,484 litres of kerosene every year worth between 7 and 8 million dollars. It was reported that by August 2014, 240 solar units had been installed in the town and that residents only were required to pay monthly installments of 50,000 Ugandan shillings (almost $20) for each unit.

On September 3, 2013, to further the effort to replace burning wood and charcoal with sustainable renewable energy, WWF Denmark supported the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Kasese and the country of Denmark. The MOU aims to enable various stakeholders, such as private investors, NGOs, innovation hubs, businesses and university students to research opportunities in Kasese for clean, renewable energy use. Among other initiatives supported by the MOU is development of a waste to energy program that will aim to curb Kasese's waste and littering problem. A pilot project was created to benefit 65 homes.

According to the Mayor of Kasese, part of Kasese's energy transformation also includes converting its streetlghts to use efficient LED lighting, which lowers monthly municipal lighting bills from 500,000 to 350,000 dollars.


Kasese benefits from renewable energy project - Video

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