Uganda president: Hydropower needed to stem CO2 from wood burning

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni called for development of electricity — primarily hydropower — to displace greenhouse gases created by Africa’s primary source of energy, the burning of wood.

Addressing the European Union-Africa Business Summit December 7 in Lisbon, Museveni said, in Uganda alone, 41 billion cubic meters of biomass is destroyed annually by burning. That, he said releases carbon dioxide, eliminates CO2-absorbing plants, exposes soil to erosion, and leads to related problems.

�If Uganda is to stop the destruction of 41 billion cubic meters of wood per annum, we need, at least, to be generating an installed capacity of 45,000 MW, on top of our present demands for energy,� the president said.

Museveni said social transformation is one of the major factors that will contribute to saving the environment.

�In the case of Africa, the greatest causes to the environmental degradation are two: scarcity of electricity and primitive agriculture that causes farmers to encroach on the forests in order to eke out a wretched living,� he said. �The latter is the reverse side of lack of industrialization and under-development in general.�

Museveni listed Africa’s developed hydropower capacity and its total hydropower potential in three major river basins and their countries:
o Nile River, developed 5,534 MW, potential 55,000 MW: Uganda, developed 380 MW, potential 2,000 MW; Ethiopia, developed 500 MW, potential 40,000 MW; Egypt, developed 2,804 MW, potential 11,000 MW; Sudan, developed 1,850 MW, potential 2,000 MW;
o Congo River (Democratic Republic of Congo), developed 350-MW Inga 1 and 1,424-MW Inga 2, potential 40,000-MW Grand Inga, potential of another 60,000 MW at unsurveyed sites upstream; and
o Zambezi River, developed 4,620 MW, potential 20,000 MW: Mozambique, developed 2,079 MW, potential 10,000 MW; Zambia, developed 1,664 MW, potential 5,000 MW; Zimbabwe, developed 646 MW, potential 4,000 MW; Malawi, developed 231 MW; Combined Angola, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, potential 1,000 MW.

With a population of 900 million people in Africa, Museveni said, there still would be a power shortage even after all hydropower potential, 456,630 MW, is developed. For that reason, he urged efforts to develop additional clean renewable energy sources at costs comparable to the per kilowatt-hour cost of hydropower and natural gas-fired generation.

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