Investors impressed by opportunities
Methane gas deposits in Lake Kivu and the country’s geothermal resources, constitute a huge investment opportunity and a major boost to Rwanda’s industrialisation ambitions, a group of international business leaders has said.
The investors, who were in the country to attend a major energy conference in Kigali, Thursday visited methane gas power plants on the lake that straddles Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
They also toured hot springs for geo-thermal energy extraction during a field tour aimed at assessing potential investments areas in the country.
Christopher Ford, of Globeleq, described the methane gas as a huge potential and an opportunity for investment.
“We are very impressed and I think Lake Kivu could be a great resource for Rwanda’s energy. Rwanda is a good place to invest because we are looking for a country with a stable economy and a government that allows private investors to flourish,” Ford said.
Globeleq is a power company that operates in the emerging markets of Africa, the Americas and Asia.
The investors were also happy with the potential geothermal sites of Nyamyumba hot springs, Kalisimbi and Kinigi.
Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar from Organization de Scalene, said that the visit had opened avenues for his firm to keenly assess the opportunities in the country’s energy, agriculture and other sectors.
“This is a great opportunity for us to assess the investment opportunities in areas of technology within the energy sector. We hope to invest in the next quarter after a feasibility study,” Kumar said.
The government is seeking US$5 billion to invest in key energy projects over the next seven years. They include hydropower, geothermal and methane gas.
According to the energy strategic plan (2011-2017), the government is targeting to tap into its natural energy resources, as well as shared power resources with Burundi, Tanzania and DRC, to increase power generation.
A World Bank study indicated that existing geothermal resources have potential to solve the country’s energy challenges – now and in the distant future.
C. Cameron Carter of Pike Tanzania, LLC, said his company will invest in either hydro or geothermal energy over the next ten years
“There are a lot of opportunities; we intend to invest in power generation. We are eager to invest in energy, whether geothermal or hydro. They are our areas of preference,’’ he said.
Marco Serafino, from Institute for University Cooperation-ICU, Techno-solutions, said his firm intends to partner with tertiary institutions to carry out a research on hydro and geothermal energy potential to guide their course of action.
Drilling for the exploration of geothermal energy is set to commence at the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi where the government says geothermal resources are enormous. Other sites identified are Gisenyi, Kinigi and Bugarama.
According to the national electricity master plan, geothermal energy is expected to contribute at least 300MW to the national grid by 2017, and potentially provide half of the country’s energy requirements by 2020.
Meanwhile, Lake Kivu is believed to contain as much as 50 billion cubic metres of exploitable methane, which, if exploited, would not only power Rwanda’s development projects, but also benefit the region.
Contact email: bonny.mukombozi[at]newtimes.co.rw