CEO of the Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, has confirmed that the long awaited KivuWatt energy plant on Lake Kivu has finally been connected to the national grid, following a set of technical delays in September. The power plant is undergoing early testing, generating 22MWs out of its 25MW installed capacity.
According to Mugiraneza, the KivuWatt methane power plant has been strategically connected to the transmission line from the Karongi District to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali.
Jarmo Gummerus, the KivuWatt country director, confirmed the development but added that they are still testing several elements of the power plant and expect to have stabilised the process for the full 25mw generation capacity by the end of this month.
According to REG’s peat and methane gas specialist, Gerard Rusine, the facility comprises of three generators and the on-going tests have so far been successful. These tests are being performed to ensure the stability of the plant-to-grid generation.
According to local media, the KivuWatt methane power plant testing process will contribute towards reducing the need for load-shedding, as well as reducing the current spend on heavy fuel imports needed to generate 51.7MWs from thermal energy.
The completion of the KivuWatt methane power station will assist government towards its ambition to add at least 61.5MW by the end of this financial year. According to officials, the 61.5MW expected this fiscal year is projected to come from ongoing projects such as Gishoma Peat Plant (15MW), Giggawatt Solar Power Plant (8.5MW), as well as the planned importation of 30MW from Kenya.
According to The New Times, Lake Kivu’s methane resources are enough to generate up to 700MW of electricity over 55 years. Of the 700MWs, Rwanda has been allocated 350MWs, with the rest to be utilised by the DRC.
Energy inadequacy is an Achilles-heel to Rwanda’s investment promotion efforts and the government has tasked itself with boosting the installed generation capacity to 563MW by the year 2018 from the current 161.2MW.
To match the country’s industrialisation drive, boosting energy production is seen as the vehicle towards ending not only the current unstable supplies but also easing the cost which is one of the highest in the region.
However, there is also the wider need to increase the number of households connected to electricity from around 20 per cent, currently, to 70 per cent of the population, by 2018, under the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
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