Renewable energy was the focus of a virtual trade mission recently organized by the Department for International Trade (DIT) at the British High Commission in Uganda, in collaboration with Innovate UK and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) for the Energy Catalyst Round 8 (ECRP) programme. ECRP is a competition that aims to support highly innovative and market-oriented energy solutions in any technology or sector in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or South-East Asia.
The virtual trade mission hosted by the Department for International Trade (DIT) at the British High Commission to Uganda, in collaboration with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, and public-private organisation funded by a grant from the British government, and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has definitely lived up to its promise. Several Ugandan and British companies from the renewable energy sector took part in the discussions which focused on the challenges of electrification through clean, affordable and sustainable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, etc….
Challenges related to the popularisation of renewable energies
The Ugandan and British companies that participated in the online event believe that renewable energy could make a difference in many countries around the world and more specifically in developing countries as they have enormous potential. These sources of electricity are cheaper and competitive with fossil fuels. However, the deployment of renewable energy is hampered by three challenges according to the World Bank. These are “technical constraints on grid integration, risks related to weak procurement capacity, and the planning of national power companies. The financial institution says countries could increase their renewable energy production at lower cost and in a sustainable manner by developing “an appropriate enabling environment, in particular improving the financial viability of national utilities and their planning capacities, as well as the key public investments needed to integrate renewable energy production. The alternative would be the balanced and equitable sharing of risks between public and private stakeholders through transparent and competitive procurement systems”.
In addition to exploring ways and opportunities, the virtual trade mission introduced 12 UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the renewable energy sector to investment opportunities in Uganda. The virtual exchange also aimed to engage with British organisations that are candidates for the Energy Catalyst Round 8 (ECRP) programme on Uganda’s electricity access challenges.
The competition aims to support innovative and sustainable electricity access technologies and business models to accelerate the transition to clean energy in developing and emerging economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme is currently funded by the UK Government’s Global ChallengesResearch Fund (GCRF) and Department for International Development (DfID) under its Transforming Energy Access programme.