Climate Justice and Energy Transition

Energy is essential for poverty eradication, gender and regional equity and socioeconomic development. Reliability, efficiency and sustainability are essential in the successful deployment of renewable energy technologies. Renewable energy enhances energy diversity, security and independence. The need for renewable energies is currently handy given the increasing levels of environmental degradation and the subsequent climate change that threatens sustainable economic growth and development.

Uganda is endowed with several energy resources which include hydropower, biomass, solar energy, geothermal, peat, and wind energies. However Uganda’s  generationl capacity is dominated by Hydro Electric power and biomass. The country’s electricity sub-sector has rapidly expanded since 2001, from just three generation plants to over 40 plants and still increasing in 2021. Over the years, a gradual increase in the installed capacity is observed which stood at 1,346.6MW in 2021. In the same year, Hydro-electricity contributed the highest installed capacity of 1,072.9MW constituting 79.7% of the total capacity. This was followed by Thermal and Bagasse Cogeneration electricity each contributing a proportion of 8.2% and 7.5% of the total installed capacity respectively.

Resource Rights Africa focuses on the increased focus to renewable energy as the global energy demand shifts from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption — including oil, natural gas, and coal — to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, as well as lithium-ion batteries among others. 

The increasing penetration of renewable energy into the energy supply mix, the onset of electrification and improvements in energy storage are all key drivers of the energy transition. Transitioning to a low carbon economy is key in tackling climate change challenges as stipulated in the United Nations Development Goal 3 and the 2015 Paris Agreement. It is important to note that fossil fuels are the main contributor to climate change as it produces around 60% of greenhouse gases.

Renewable energies are key players regarding world energy supply security and the reduction of fossil fuel dependency and harmful emissions to the environment. Regulation and commitment to decarbonization has been mixed, but the energy transition will continue to increase in importance as investors prioritize environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

Rampant energy poverty in Africa that creates impeccable challenges for energy transition discourse since most people do not have where to transit from and virtually nowhere to transit to. Despite the enormous potential for hydroelectricity, Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, with the current access rate remaining low (24%). Unfortunately, households without access to electricity rely on technologies such as kerosene lamps and battery powered torches to meet their lighting needs.

RRA advocates for just energy transition for poor and marginalized communities and countries in the global south. Through research and advocacy engagements, RRA engages grassroot communities on legal and policy processes underpinning energy transition discourse where critical minerals will play a key role.