Electricity is one of the key pillars of Rwanda’s sustainable development, where the Government is making efforts to increase the generation capacity and distribution throughout the country.
This will be achieved through different projects to build new power plants increasing the generation capacity, new transmission and distribution lines to increase access and use of off-grid solutions such as solar home systems in off-grid areas.
For Rwanda to achieve its target to meet demand while maintaining the 15 per cent reserve margin, it specifically requires an increase in the amount of electricity generated from 224.63 MW to MW 556 by 2024.
In March 2017, a project was launched to build the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydropower plant, which will generate 80 MW to be shared between Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. The project is valued at $ 340 million and is expected to be completed by July 2021. The overall project progress of the plant is estimated at 62 per cent.
There is also a project to build another power plant under construction which will generate electricity from peat in Akanyaru swamps, Gisagara District. The project, named after the implementing company, Hakan, is expected to generate 80 MW before the end of the year 2020.
There is another project to build a methane to power plant on Lake Kivu with a capacity to generate 56-MW gas methane. This project which will cost $ 200 million is a public-private partnership project between Shema Power Lake Kivu Ltd (SPLK Ltd) and the, Government of Rwanda. Another methane to power plant in Lake Kivu was already completed in 2016 and is currently generating 26 MW. It was built by the US-based company ContourGlobal
Other major power projects include the construction of Rusizi III hydropower plant, a joint project between the Government of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, which will generate about 230 MW as well as Nyabarongo II hydropower plant which will generate about 43.5 MW by October 2025 with a total cost of around 625 million US Dollars.
Electricity distribution projects
Among the projects to increase access to electricity all over the country, new distribution lines currently under construction will soon connect to the grid around 106 households.
Among the projects under implementation include project funded by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), which will connect to the grid around 18,000 households in Nyagatare and Burera Districts.
There is also a World Bank-sponsored project which will provide electricity to more than 13,000 households in the Eastern Province, 10,000 in the Southern Province, 8,000 in the Northern Province and more than 5,700 in the Western Province.
As per REG information, there is another project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) that will provide electricity to more than 6,280 households in Ngororero District and about 4,835 in some Districts of the Northern Province.
In addition to these projects, which are co-funded by the Government of Rwanda and various donors, there are various other projects being undertaken financed by the Districts budgets.
Access to electricity in off-grid areas
While the grid extension across the country will take time to be completed and therefore challenge the quick universal electrification, some areas located far from the grid network have been designated to be provided with off-grid solutions as a solution that will help to achieve the country’s electrification goal.
A map has been elaborated showing how electricity will be distributed in each part of the country and the technology that will be used, either on-grid or off-grid.
Although the use of off-grid solutions is new in Rwanda, it has already reached more than 400,000 households.
The Government of Rwanda has entered into agreements with various private companies to deliver solar home systems to residents living in off-grid areas.
As of today, around 53% of households in Rwanda have access to electricity, including those connected to the grid and those using off-grid solutions.
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