There are various social, economic, environmental and technical issues relating to biofuel production and use which have been discussed in the media and scientific journals. The issues include the following among others:
• The effect of moderating oil prices,
• The “food vs fuel” debate
• Poverty reduction potential
• Carbon emissions levels
• Sustainable bio fuel production
• Deforestation and soil erosion
• Loss of biodiversity
• Impact on water resources
• Energy balance and efficiency.
The debate of whether to fully promote by biofuel source of energy is not conclusive as there are many aspects to consider.
Charcoal and Fuel Wood
Majority of Ugandans including those living in urban areas rely on wood fuel (fire wood and charcoal) as their primary source of energy for heating, cooking and lighting. The dependency on fuel wood has had a negative impact on the country trees as they have been cut down for fuelwood. The government has not put in place specific incentives and implementable legislation for the replanting of energy crops. The technology for using fuelwood more efficiently is not available at affordable price at the household level in both urban and rural sectors.Negative effects of dependence on wood fuel
Uganda imports all its petroleum products through Kenya (85%) and Tanzania (15%) by the use of trucks. The fuel is pumped from the port of Mombasa through an oil pipeline to Eldoret, Kenya from where it is picked, by trucks across the border into Uganda. There are plans to extend the pipeline to Kampala but there are still challenges of financing and the decision of Uganda to process the crude oil in Uganda.
Oil deposits worth over 2.5 billion barrels have been confirmed in the Albertine Rift Basin and plans for its exploitation for domestic consumption within the next 2-3 years are already underway.
It has also been confirmed that Uganda has over 12 billion standard cubic feet (339 million cubic meters) of natural gas reserves in its Albertine Graben region and plans are underway to exploit it.
The usage is limited and is applied mainly in the agricultural and the health sectors. Atomic energy uses must be regulated in order to protect the public and the environment from dangers arising out of improper practices and uses of ionizing radiation.