Energy Minister Commissions Biomass-to-Electricity Pilot Project at Mulago Hospital
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On 12th April 2022, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu commissioned the Biomass-to-Electricity (Charcoal-to-Power) Pilot Project at the Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The Charcoal-to-Power Project is ERA's Initiative to reduce carbon emissions through increased per capita consumption of Electricity compared to Biomass. The Initiative also aims to grow the demand for Electricity through Increased use of Electricity for cooking in institutions, commercial establishments, and individual households.
Officiating at the commissioning ceremony, Hon. Nankabirwa emphasized the need to save Uganda's forest cover, which has been depleted by cutting trees for wood and charcoal for cooking and other heating purposes. The Minister noted that institutions that primarily depend on Biomass for cooking, such as schools, hospitals and individual households need to embrace the new initiative and transit from cooking using Biomass to cooking using Electricity.
Speaking at the same ceremony, the Board Chairperson of ERA, Dr. Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi, noted that the Project commissioned was in line with one of ERA's Core Focus Areas – Acceleration of Access to Electricity and Demand Growth, as spelt out in ERA's Five-Year Strategic Plan 2020/21 to 2024/25.
Dr. Sarah appreciated the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for supporting the implementation of the Project and pledged, on behalf of the ERA Board, to diligently guide and supervise the rollout of the Project to other institutions. She also officially handed over Cooking Saucepans contributed by ERA for use by the Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit.
The UNDP Deputy Country Representative, Ms. Sheila Ngatia, while at the ceremony, noted that the UNDP supported the Biomass-to-Electricity Project as a result of its potential to combat deforestation in Uganda, reduce health illnesses connected to the use of Biomass and also being in line with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal number 7 that encourages the use of sustainable Energy for all.
The Ag. Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital, Dr. Rose Byanyima, while addressing guests, noted that the Project benefits Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit in terms of having patients' meals timely and conveniently cooked. She added that staff working in the unit kitchen are now shielded from illness related to cooking using Biomass. She appreciated both ERA and UNDP for choosing and implementing the Project at the Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit.
Under the Charcoal-to-Power Project, ERA targets to convert 50,000 households, 500 institutions (including hospitals, prisons, institutions of learning), and commercial enterprises from the use of Biomass as the primary source of Energy for cooking or heating to the use of Electricity.