The quality of electricity supply in Kigali is likely to improve after a $20 million (Rwf17.6 billion) power substation facility was inaugurated yesterday in Ndera, Bumbogo sector in Gasabo district.
The facility, which is also expected to reduce power losses, was funded by the Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
It is part of what is known as the “Project for Improvement of Substation and Distribution” which began in 2011.
Through the project, the Japanese government has been providing grants to Rwanda to upgrade and rehabilitate proposed distribution systems in order to promote substantial electrification.
The Chief Executive of Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Ron Weiss, said it will improve Rwanda’s electricity substation and distribution network.
“This project is going to help us improve the network operations in Kigali, reduce power and energy losses, and also to increase both the quality and the quantity of power supply in Kigali,” he noted.
Kigali accounts for 64 per cent of the total power consumption in the country. Yet, the city has been experiencing large-scale power outages and power losses.
Generally, about 20 per cent of energy is lost through poor and old power facilities. Weiss said this has hindered progress and resulted into the need to improve and upgrade substations.
Japan’s ambassador to Rwanda, Takayuki Miyashita, noted that this facility will help reduce power losses and stablise power in Kigali city and neighbouring areas.
“This project will supply stable power to areas in and around Kigali that will lead to the wellbeing of the people of Rwanda. I am very excited that we are part of your national development,” he said.
The new facility is expected to supply parts of Ndera and Murindi. And, officials said the biggest beneficiaries will be businesses operating in the Kigali Special Economic Zone.
The substation has five power lines (electrical feeders), two of which will feed industrial zone as it increases capacity.
The Special Economic Zone is attracting players in sectors with the highest potential for growth, including agricultural processing, ICT and other manufacturing services.
Most of these sectors depend heavily on energy supply.
Germaine Kamayirese, the State Minister in charge of Energy, Water and Sanitation, praised the Government of Japan for its commitment to contributing toward the realisation of the country’s energy targets.
She highlighted that stable power supply is now a prerequisite for foreign direct investment, and that the demand is increasing.
The Government wants to achieve 100 per cent of power accessibility by 2024, from the current 44.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, the officials were accompanied by a delegation of Japanese members of parliament.
Shingo Miyake, one of the members of House of Councillors in Japan, said the project set an example of the growing Japan’s development cooperation with Rwanda.