Kagame and PAC discuss energy, environment plan

NEW YORK - President Paul Kagame yesterday held a day-long meeting with members of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) where discussions centred on charting a roadmap for Rwanda’s adoption of clean and renewable energy sources. The 5th PAC meeting was held in New York ahead of President Kagame’s packed schedule that includes; an address to the annual UN General Assembly, a series of keynote speeches and bilateral talks with various high ranking dignitaries.   

NEW YORK - President Paul Kagame yesterday held a day-long meeting with members of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) where discussions centred on charting a roadmap for Rwanda’s adoption of clean and renewable energy sources.

The 5th PAC meeting was held in New York ahead of President Kagame’s packed schedule that includes; an address to the annual UN General Assembly, a series of keynote speeches and bilateral talks with various high ranking dignitaries. 

The President and his team discussed different measures that Rwanda could adopt to promote and increase its share of clean and renewable energies in the national energy balance.

“We will be extracting from the discussions, what Rwanda needs to do in terms of policy clarity and investments to this sector,” Presidential aide, David Himbara and member of PAC, told The New Times.

“Rwanda has decided to move away from conventional fossil fuel-based energy generation and is exploring diverse sources of renewable energy that are in different stages of development,” a concept document to be discussed reads.

Rwanda is eyeing renewable energy solutions in the areas of solar, geothermal, wind, methane gas, biomass, bio-fuels and the traditional hydro electric power.

Kagame and his advisors discussed ways of attracting more private investment to this sector. Also scheduled on the agenda were discussions on procedures of setting up a legal and regulatory framework to guide the emerging sector. 

The Council was expected to address capacity needs for developing these renewable energies. It was scheduled to come up with Rwanda’s position on the December UN sponsored Copenhagen Climate Change summit.

PAC is a voluntary advisory body to the President made up of 21 eminent persons with different backgrounds and drawn from various disciplines. 

The grouping meets twice a year to discuss one area of specific interest. During the previous 4th PAC meeting held in Kigali, the council discussed Rwanda’s agricultural sector and its roadmap to modernization. 

In New York, Minister of Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata is expected to give a feedback on how far her ministry has gone with implementing the resolutions adopted during the April meeting.

As the advisory council discuses renewable energy, Rwanda hopes that increased use of these alternative sources will not only diversify on available power sources but also help keep national greenhouse gas emissions low.

“The share of renewable energies in the national energy balance is already significantly high, and Rwanda is aiming at increasing the share of renewable energies for electricity production,” the concept document outlines.

So far, 56 percent of the national electricity production is already coming from renewable sources, mostly hydropower, according to the document.

By adopting these alternative sources, Rwanda also hopes to become less dependent on the importation of petroleum products for electricity generation and therefore be less exposed to volatile price changes on the international oil markets.

Today the country generates 69MW of electricity produced mainly from hydro power and thermal sources.

Government projects increasing generation capacity to at least 130MW by 2012, mainly through investment in hydropower projects and methane gas.

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