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Rwanda set to fully meet her energy needs

By Melodie Mukansonera

Rwanda will soon be producing enough electricity to support the manufacturing and household connectivity to full capacity and even have surplus. This follows recent funding directed to the energy sector.

The development comes after Rwanda secured a concessional loan of Rwf 203 billion from China’s Exim Bank, which will facilitate the construction of Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant.

The 56-months-to-commissioning project will give a major boost to the on-grid supply of electricity which will significantly bring about stability in energy distribution in the country.

Information from the Ministry of Infrastructure indicates that in order for the country to realise the 100 percent electricity connections to all households in the country by 2024, the country will need to produce 556 megawatts.

Currently, Rwanda produces 227 megawatts that is supplemented by off-grid energy sources like solar.

Among the major projects in the pipeline that will help Rwanda realise this target include Regional Rusumo Falls Hydropower Project, Hakan Peat to Power Project, Shema Methane Gas Project, Ruzizi III Hydro Power Plant project and Nyabarongo II.

Government’s statistics indicate that electricity access rose to 54% countrywide (39 percent on-grid and 15 percent off-grid) in February 2020, up from 40.7% in September 2017, while system losses declined from 22% to 19%.

However, more funding has been secured to achieve full-capacity power generation.

Parliament recently approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit worth €91,4million to finance Rwanda’s energy sector supplemental development policy financing while Rwanda and the World Bank signed a US$100 million financing agreement for the Third Rwanda Energy Sector Development Policy Operation (DPO).

Financing was the last of the 375million total funding from the bank towards the energy sector, the first of which was approved in December 2018.

With the above mentioned projects, experts say, Rwanda has paved way to fix a gap that was caused by Uganda’s reluctance of the project to construct a power transmission line that was to enable Rwanda import electricity from Kenya and Ethiopia. The reluctance, according to experts working with the Northern Corridor Initiative (NCI), was motivated by Uganda’s desire to sell to Rwanda its surplus electricity. However, since Uganda’s dams were yet to be completed necessitated the delay.

“Uganda was constructing its own dams and needed a market for its surplus. Rwanda wanted electricity from Kenya which would be accessed immediately rather than wait for Uganda’s dams the completion of which was not assured,” said an expert.

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