- From 7pm to 6am, what any person can see is like a light – city on the waters lighting till dawn
- At the landing site over 80 percent of households have access to clean energy for lighting, charging and other domestic purposes
- The fishing communities have resorted to using solar energy to fish all night with battery charged bulbs to catch silver fish and other species
By Sandra Atusinguza
Hoima- Hydromax Limited Company was contracted by government with funding from African Development Bank under the government’s Rural Electrification Program to develop a Mini Hydro Power dam project of Nine Megawatts in Buseruka Sub County known as Kabalega hydro power project.
The $ 36million project is situated on River Wambabya, 18 miles away from the proposed oil refinery site in Kabaale parish along the escarpment and few kilometers away from the fishing landing sites of Lake Albert.
After the commissioning exercise, the communities were assured of reliable power supply in the region. The project reached its final stages by 2012 but up to date the neighboring parish of Tonya has never been connected to the grid or poles erected in the community.
Despite the escarpment hosting most of Uganda’s oil wells in the Albertine graben, little attention has been focused to enable them access electricity or any other energy options , even government’s rural electrification program has not benefited these communities. During my recent visit to the fishing communities along Lake Albert at Kaiso and Kyehoro landing sites, Tonya parish Buseruka Sub county Hoima district.
The Solar systems that have been installed at the landing site. Photo by Sandra Atusinguza
The method of solar light fishing has been adopted from the neighboring landing sites it is cost effective, durable, environmental friendly , it is also which is believed to have increased in fish catch especially silver fish though some fisher men say it has also reduced in other types of fish spices and weather dependant.
As the fishing communities’ moves towards energy security through access to solar energy as a form of ensuring environmental sustainability, government must decentralize energy sites to increase access especially to marginalized communities.
More investments by all players in energy sector must focus more on off grid and micro grids options; this will also help to reduce energy costs. There must be tax subsidization of imports on clean energy products so as they can be affordable and cheaper to the consumers.
The Writer is a Field coordinator for Afiego, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org