Project Breif for the Proposed Construction of Rural Electrification Projects in West Nile
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has received funding under the World Bank to construct rural electrification projects in the rural areas of West Nile. The project areas include Arua, Yumbe, Nebbi, Koboko and Moyo Districts in Northern Uganda.
This is part of the grid extension plan by REA, targeting 22% rural electrification access, up from 7% stated in the Rural Electrification Strategic Plan, by 2022.
Increasing electricity access in the West Nile Region through construction of power lines and grid extension will have the following benefits:
The Project Outline
REA (REA) intends to construct up to 345.8 km of electrical power lines, in the districts of Arua, Yumbe, Koboko, Moyo, and Nebbi. The lines include:
- i. Wandi - Yumbe – Moyo Line covering 304.3 km of medium voltage and 82 transformers, being fed from Arua- Koboko - Yumbe line at either Yumbe or Wandi;
- ii. Onduparaka – Odrmachaku – Abiria Line covering 41.5 km of medium voltage and 16 transformers; being supplied from the Arua - Koboko - Yumbe line at Onduparaka.
Implementation of this project is supported by Credit from the World Bank/IDA for implementation of Phase III of the Energy for Rural Transformation Project (ERT III).
The construction of the electricity distribution lines will involve the following activities:
- i. Erection of medium voltage line support structures, accessories and conductors
- ii. Clearing of the right of way for medium voltage and low voltage lines
- iii. Erection of the low voltage reticulation lines to bring supply points close to potential consumers
- iv. Construction of temporary worker‟s camps and storage facilities for project materials during project implementation
Requirement for Environmental Assessment
Development of Electrical Infrastructure is listed in the Third Schedule of the National Environment Act CAP 153 among projects for which environmental assessment is mandatory. The same requirement applies Electricity Act CAP 145 to power distribution projects. This project Brief is also in compliance with the World Bank Operational Policy 4.01 requiring environmental assessment (EA) of projects to ensure that they are environmentally sound and sustainable, and to improve decision making.
Undertaking an Environmental assessment and preparation of a Project Brief for the proposed development by REA is in line with national and lender requirements. This environmental impact assessment is a pre-requisite to the implementation of grid-extension lines under the ERT III project.
Objective of the Project Brief
This project Brief provides a description of the Grid extension project, presents baseline conditions in the project areas and results of stakeholder consultations and engagement, identifies project impacts and proposes mitigation measures.
Environmental assessment findings and recommendations
Sensitivities identified along the power line route include wetland systems, rivers and streams, protected areas including 4 plantation Central Forest Reserves, social infrastructure including roads, schools, health centres, settlements and businesses, including road side businesses in trading centres. Impacts on the sensitive sections of the line routes can be avoided through design given the span between the poles, and routing the line along the road reserves.
Electricity demand and load centers have also been highlighted, as well as the benefits of electrification. Stakeholder consultations and engagements have been carried out with Government Lead Agencies, and in all Districts and sub counties, and rural growth centers, and with project affected persons along the power line route.
Key impact issues arising include loss of vegetation along power line route including crops, private woodlots and trees; the need for sensitization of affected communities on land acquisition, compensation, public safety and benefits from power line construction and operations; impacts on sensitive environments including wetlands, rivers, CFRs, wildlife and habitats; Workers occupational health, safety, welfare and behavior; Gender issues, particularly benefits to women; environmental and social impacts management during construction and operations; and management of grievances during construction and operation. Mitigation measures have been proposed for all these impacts.
An Environmental and social management plan has been proposed to be implemented by REA, as well as Supplemental environment and social management plans including Grievance Management Mechanism, public Consultation and Disclosure, Resettlement Framework for the ERT III Project, and Livelihood Restoration Plan. The ESMP is guided by the ERT III Environmental and Social Management Framework, and takes into account lessons learnt from ERT II implementation, including mechanisms for monitoring environmental and social compliance; Grievance management; Stakeholder engagement; and Costs for ESMP implementation.
The Contractor to be engaged by REA will have this ESMP integrated into their contract specifications, contractor environment and social action plans and provide for continual supervision of contractor for compliance with ESMP provisions. The contractor will specifically be required to have a Labour Force Management Plan and Code of Conduct for workers, and to implement a Chance Finds Procedure.
Changes may arise as details of the power line alignment, including actual locations of poles, transformers, staging areas, access roads, and material source points or suppliers, or even of the contractor are finalized. Changes in some aspects of designs may as well occur, including routing of power power lines away from forested areas. Such changes and additional risks will be addressed in monitoring reports and the relevant stakeholders updated.
REA will monitor compliance of the Contractor with the ESMP and regulatory requirements. REA or through a Supervising Consultant will follow up on environmental, social, health and safety aspects of the power line construction works, including handling of emergencies and grievances. For operations and maintenance, public safety aspects, power line protection measures and emergency preparedness will be emphasized.
The cost of ESMP implementation listed cover mainly monitoring, sensitization, compensation, waste management, Grievance management, stakeholder engagement, security of materials and equipment, management of Labour and OHS issues, and additional studies (PCRs) estimated at USD 230, 400. Other costs will include capacity building of stakeholders to implement the ESMP estimated at USD 15,000 and the costs of environmental audit prior to line commissioning or handover estimated at USD. 30,000.