KIGALI - The State Minister for Energy, Eng. Albert Butare, has revealed that the European Union has agreed to finance studies of the mechanisms and modalities of the joint exploitation of methane gas from Lake Kivu by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The joint extraction is expected to generate 200 megawatts of energy.
The revelation comes after Ministers charged with energy in their portfolios from Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC, met in Rubavu over the weekend to assess the current progress regarding sharing and extraction of methane gas in Lake Kivu.
“We agreed on setting up a joint team that would asses the development of 200 megawatts from the lake; the team will come up with the proper financing mechanism and the mode of technology to be used,” Butare said.
According to Butare, the ministers agreed on accelerating the project as soon as the feasibility study is completed which is expected to be in April next year.
“We have agreed to speed up the instructions we have from our Heads of State on methane gas exploitation as soon as possible and our donors have agreed to fund the project,” Butare said.
On the financing mechanism, Butare said that the team will come up with final proposal of whether the money to be used in the extraction process would come from the governments, development partners or through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
The team is also expected to come up with the right mode of technology of whether the extraction would be done in phases or at once and also look at the social and environmental impact assessment.
Once finalized, Rwanda’s share of the project – 100mw – will be a massive boost to the country’s electrification roll-out target of 16 percent (350,000 connections) by 2012.
Rwanda’s current peak capacity of 61mw only satisfies six percent of the population– about 110,000 total connections.
The ministers also met to put a final seal on regional power inter-connectivity projects and according to Butare, Ministers.
Butare said that the power inter-connectivity project linking Karongi to Goma through Rubavu will be financed by the African Development Bank while the Tanzania-Burundi through Rwanda project is expected to end by next year.
On the development of Rusizi III project whose capacity stands at 145 megawatts, Butare that its feasibility study has approached the end while Rusizi IV project with the capacity of 287 megawatts will be completed next year.
“On Rusizi II hydropower plant we agreed on finalising the rehabilitation in the quickest time possible,” said Butare
The rehabilitation process will be funded by FMO- an entrepreneurial development bank of the Netherlands at a cost of about US18million.