70% electrification target on track – Rwanda Energy Group

REG’s Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Bosco Mugiraneza (C) addresses the media in Kigali yesterday. (Photos by T.Kisambira)

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) has insisted it will meet the 2018 target to ensure at least 70 per cent of national households are connected to electricity. 

With 600,000 customers of REG currently connected to power, across the country—contributing 24.3 per cent to the overall target of 70 per cent households targeted by 2018—some people think the target might be too ambitious in the set time frame.

The 2018 connection target includes 48 per cent on grid and 22 per cent off grid power generation.

REG has recorded generation capacity increase of 89.5 megawatts over the last two years, bringing the current total installed capacity to 190 megawatts, with the Government projecting 563 megawatts power generation in the next two years.

Despite some skepticism about the 70 per cent target of connectivity, REG chief executive Jean-Bosco Mugiraneza is confident that there are “quite a number of projects in the pipeline” to make the target feasible within the set timeframe.

“We will use both on-grid and off-grid solutions to achieve this target,” he said. “We are signing many contracts with investors to roll out solar systems in rural areas, and this is really working out.”

Mugiraneza was, on Wednesday, addressing journalists on the status of energy in the country, in Kigali.

“On-grid generation, we are halfway our target, then off-grid we have to multiply efforts; that’s why we are signing contracts with investors. We are going to engage four investors in addition to two existing ones. The 2018 target is still on, that’s why we have to change strategies and increase efforts to make it feasible,” he said.

Current electrification rates stand at, 100 per cent of hospitals, 85 per cent of health centres, 92 per cent of administrative sector offices and 45 per cent of primary and secondary schools.

Emmanuel Kamanzi, the managing director of Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL), said electrification targets will be met but the main focus should rather be on how to match electricity supply with demand.

“We need to put infrastructure in place to close the power deficits and increase transmission lines,” Kamanzi said.

To enhance domestic and regional electricity access, interconnection lines are under construction to allow power trade/ exchange in the region. These include 220KV line Mirama-Shango of 93.2 kilometres connecting Rwanda with Uganda, 220KV Line Shango-Rubavu-Goma-Karongi of 180km connecting Rwanda with DR Congo, 220KV line Rusumo-Bugesera-Shango connecting Rwanda with Burundi.

According to REG, it is expected that, by 2018, the power-exchange project will be possible through 220KV power transmission infrastructure with all neighbouring countries.

“When you look at the pipeline projects, we are saying that we should even move a bit slower to commit more.

Because we may sign up as many as we can, you may not be able to consume all the power you have. We need to have supply that meets the demand requirements,” Kamanzi said.

Kamanzi argued that once people relocate to stay along transmission lines, it will be easier for the utility to reach as many households as possible at minimum cost.

Source: The New Times

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