Few years down the road the Ministry Of Infrastructure has been engaged in the implementation process of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and significant impacts in socio-economic transformation has been realised. The New Times’ GODFREY NTAGUNGIRA talked to The Infrastructure Minister, Vincent Karega, on how his Ministry is faring as far as EDPRS pragrammes are concerned.
CAPACITIES IN THE RWANDAN ENERGY SYSTEM
Of the various reforms that the government of Rwanda has implemented over the recent years, one of the areas that is set to have more impact is energy sector. As stipulated in its Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy based on the Vision 2020, it’s in plan to reduce the cost of electricity production expected to boost the indigenous resources that are cheaper than oil products, promoting the efficient use of energy.
The preferred electricity generation sources will include Lake Kivu Methane gas, hydro, geothermal, solar, peat, and others. As far as the energy sector is concerned a lot of success stories have been realized in various areas covered by the four energy related sub-programmes.
Among the major achievements were realized in the year 2009/2010 period which are: number of electricity connections increased from 135,000 in 2009 mini budget to 148 500 as opposed to the target of 139,000 in 2009/10. The available generation capacity increased from 69mw to 84.5mw.
Overall power production has stabilized after severe power shortages in 2004 that caused massive load shedding all over the country, and prompted the government to switch emergency power solutions and invest in increasing generation capacity.
Through the EDPRS framework the government of Rwanda has set a clear road map for the energy sector till 2012. This includes:
1. Increased access (Generation, Transmission and Distribution for domestic and export purposes)
2. Reduced cost of service and the introduction of cost reflective tariffs
3. Energy diversification and security (going beyond hydro and methane
4. Strengthening governance framework and institutional capacity.
The overall target of the government is to boost connectivity from the 91,332 in 2007 to 350,000 customers by 2012 under the EDPRS energy program. We had targets to achieve when EDPRS was put in place in 2007 but the government kept on increasing investments in various projects. through generation we used an emergency plan through generation, currently we are building 8 mini hydro power stations.
Last year 2009 the sector boosted 57,000 new connections and is targeting by 2010 target have new connections amounting to 63,000. By 2012, the sector registered success in putting up new connections in different parts of the country like, Nyaruguru, Gisagara Kirehe, Nyagatare, Kayonza, and Gakenke in the Northern Province.
About six districts which had no electricity now are on grid and the government is injecting lots of its financial resources in new connections and working hard to increase power generation capacity. We are doing very well and by 2020 we aim at 35 percent of the Rwandan population to be connected and we believe we can go beyond the target by 50%.
THE 2009-10 ACHIEVEMENTS OF ENERGY
The sector managed to put in place building of institutional capacities, legal and regulatory frameworks, new laws on electricity and gas have been developed in the energy sector that brings all development partners and local relevant institutions to harmonize interventions and align them to government priorities.
We have also done a lot improving the capacity building so far, the secretariat and reporting system of the SWAp are being set up and some staff have been recruited, as the process is ongoing.
MINIFRA has done a commendable work in the process of establishing an implementation agency for the Energy Sector, Water and Sanitation Authority, the law for its establishment and duties were approved by parliament and implementation expected before this year ends.
In the process to improve access to energy through the construction and rehabilitation of important hydro power plants, a number of them have been progressing very well over the course of 2009-10 like the commissioning of 8 micro hydro power plants (6,3MW) latest by July 2010.
The commissioning of Rukara hydro power station 9.5MW, completion of REC methane to power pilot plant 3.5MW, construction of Nyabarongo hydro power station.
DIVERSIFICATION OF ENERGY SOURCES
A number of projects on diversification of energy sources have been executed in the period of 2009-2010 the substitution of wood-coal, household biogas producing 600 digesters were constructed and the target by 2012 has been revised to 5000 instead of 15,000.
We also progressed in the promotional use of improved stoves by 60% of households and enterprises use of improved stoves.
Another huge project in pipeline include the electricity master plan is being done in three phases, phase one was completed and validated by the stakeholders of the sector.
Phase two the study was completed and forwarded to the sector but pending validation and the third phase is also in progress. In the process of improving access to energy through construction and rehabilitation of important hydro power plants, a number of them have been progressing very well over the course of 2009-2010.
The master plan is in progress and by the end of this year we expect to have it accomplished; this is going to be a great milestone as far as electricity efficiency is concerned.
The Ministry of infrastructure carried out studies on domestic energy in rural areas, one study was conducted on biomass energy strategy, detailed study to be conducted in 2010 under SEDP project. Oil storage facilities rehabilitated and strategic storage expanded.
The government of Rwanda is investigating and developing all available possibilities for local sources of energy in order to diversify the primary energy balance and to ensure energy security. This comprises of exploration of wind, geothermal, solar, methane gas potentials, and the substitution of biomass with modern forms of energy.
ENERGY SECTOR BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS
So far the overall execution of 2009-10 budgets for energy sub sector is 81% that includes both recurrent and development budget. The budget for 2010-11 allocation for energy sector was summarized as Frw63, 252,900,000 draft budget of energy against Frw 62,408,200,000 as the ceiling allocated to energy sub-sector by MINECOFIN.
The budget was allocated to different projects in the sector through the four sub- programmes of energy namely strengthening of institutional and supply security, control of service costs and decrease in electricity tariffs. Due to budget allocations ceiling offered by MINICOFIN, a number of other priority projects were not covered and will be consdered in the next fiscal year’s budget.
The energy sector development strategy for the period until the year 2020 includes present-day and future technologies as well as changes in energy management practices.
Among the projects in pipeline expected to boost the energy sector are through the construction and rehabilitation of important hydro power plants, a number of them have been progressing well over the course like the commissioning of 8 micro hydro power plants.
For Rwanda we are concentrating on immediate solutions starting with what we have and also see new measures of utilizing other sources of energy. Though the cost of electricity is still costly, as of now we are working hard to see that we increase to generation capacity which will affect the cost also.