Gishoma Peat Plant ready for connection to the national grid

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Gishoma Peat Power Plant in Rusizi District is ready to add 15 megawatts to the national grid, officials have said. File.

Gishoma Peat Power Plant is ready to be connected to the national electricity grid. Tests conducted on the plant have been successful. And come next month, if all goes according to plan, the country could have its first ‘feel’ of peat energy on the national grid. That is 15 megawatts of energy, mark you.

According to officials from both Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL) and RUNH Power Corporation Ltd, the firm contracted to construct the plant, all that is left are final touches to ensure the power is on grid latest at beginning of March.

The construction of the peat plant, located in Rusizi District, started in 2010 but stalled along the way due to hitches in implementation, which at one point got the attention of Parliament.

However, all frustrations will soon be over as, Frank Zhang, the company’s marketing manager, said activities are at 99 per cent of implementation with few issues remaining to be fixed before it is handed over to government.

“The testing and commissioning were done and we have been asked to fix some few issues, we are working on it and ultimate time will be end of February or beginning of March,” Zhang said last week.

According to officials from Rwanda Energy Group, the project was tested and proven to be successful but could not be handed to them as few technical issues had to be fixed.

Speaking to The New Times, Theoneste Higaniro, the head of generation projects implementation at EDCL, said for such a project to be handed over, it has to be tested for at least 28 days and the contactor gets a provisional acceptance certificate before getting an operational certificate.

“The Gishoma Peat Power Plant construction is complete and both testing and commissioning have been successful, the power was connected to the grid but the trial was for 21 days due to a few technical glitches while it had to be 28, so we asked them to fix them,” said Higaniro.

“There is hope to get power, peat construction was completed and peat is there, we will put it on grid as soon as possible as there is need to do small technical corrections,” he added.

Construction of Gishoma Peat Power Plant cost $39.2 million, according to officials.

Other peat projects

According to officials, an exercise to identify other peat power prospects revealed more possible sources of peat that can generate more power in various parts of the country.

Jean Clement Nshubijeho, the manager of peat, oil and gas at EDCL, said the assessment revealed that peat deposits countrywide can generate 141 megawatts in total, power that can be consumed in 30 years.

He said investors have already started works on Hakan Peat site in Gisagara District, a project that is expected to generate 80 megawatts.

Hakan peat power project will be implemented by SWECO Company from Finland at a tune of $353 million (aboutRwf290 billion).

Over the last seven years, more efforts in the energy sector have been directed towards diversified and balanced power production and supply to meet the national targets.

As a result, electricity generation capacity has increased almost three-fold from 76 megawatts in 2010 to 208 megawatts as of last month.