Government seeks to add 91.5MW to national grid by next year

Friday September 19 2014

Residents of Muhozi Cell, Bumbogo Sector in Gasabo District, walk past an unconnected electricity pole. PHOTO | FILE

As part of efforts to achieve its long- and short-term energy targets, the government has committed to generate up to 91.5 megawatts to add to the national grid between 2014-2015.

The additional power will be generated from different sources. Twenty eight megawatts is expected from Nyabarongo hydro power dam; 25MW from Kivu; 8.5MW from solar power while 30MW is expected to come in the form of energy imports from the region.

This additional power represents more than 50 per cent energy increase from the current capacity of 125MW.

The government targets to generate up to 567MW and connect at least 70 per cent of the population to electricity by 2017. To achieve this goal, which is expected to spur economic development, the country will need to invest about $3 billion.

About $1.3 billion out of the $3 billion, is expected to come from private sector investments and the government is pursuing a mix of hydro, peat, geothermal, methane and solar power energy.

Papias Musafiri, the board chairman of Rwanda Energy Group, said that investors in the energy sector are responding positively and some have even committed to certain projects.


“So far investors are showing interest in energy projects, it’s still too early to get a whole picture of what the investor turn up will be but we shall know mid-way into our five- year strategic plan,” said Mr Musafiri.

“We already have some investors on board and we are trying to get more,” he added.

Mr Musafiri said that they are also trying to find ways to reduce energy losses.

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At a function where agencies affiliated to the Ministry of Infrastructure signed performance contracts, the Minister for Infrastructure James Musoni expressed optimism that with the current efforts the government will achieve its energy targets.

“Between 2014 and 2015 we expect to generate more than 50 per cent of the total energy we currently have, with commitment from the different implementing agencies we shall achieve the short and long-term targets,” said Mr Musoni.

Among the government’s other ambitious energy goals is a reduction on its dependence on biomass (wood energy) for fuel.

“This dependence currently stands at 85 per cent, and we want it to reduce to at least 55 per cent by 2017 and to 50 per cent by 2020,” said Robert Nyanvumba, managing director of Energy Development Corporation.

Out of the current power generation, hydro power contributes 56 per cent; thermal 43 per cent; and one per cent comes from methane and solar power. The goals is to increase generation from indigenous resources and gradually phase out thermal power by 2016.

Regional hydro plants like Rusumo, which is set to produce 80MW, Rusizi III to produce 145MW and Rusizi IV 287 MW, will have their power shared equally among partner states.

The government is also pursuing regional interconnection projects with DRC, Uganda and Kenya to ensure import and export of power from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Rwanda is an active member of the East African Power Pool, a regional framework that is aimed at ensuring power sustainability among the member states.

The government recently gave Angelique International, a power development firm a deadline of October 31 to deliver 28MW to the national electricity grid.

The delay was attributed to low levels of rainfall this year and technical glitches, which were experienced during implementation.