The country plans to expand the national power grid and increase access to electricity from 7 percent to at least 16 percent by 2012, thanks to increased funding from the Government and its development partners.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, the Minister of State for Energy, Eng. Albert Butare , said that the country’s plan under the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) to increase connection from 137,000 to 350,000 connections by 2012 is already on course and 21,000 connections have already been added, for this year.
“The plan is to add 37,000 connections every year, beginning with 2009, so that by 2012 we can have 350,000 connections to the grid-that’s an increase of 16 percent, but what I can tell you now, this is just a minimum.”
“We believe next year we will do even more. The Arab OPEC fund has approved US$10m; the World Bank has released $20m while the Dutch have released $10m,” Butare revealed.
Butare said that the government is now working on plans to strengthen the Rwanda Energy Corporation (RECO) to coordinate the national rollout programme and handle the procurement work of all the required materials to fast track the exercise.
The Government is also planning to increase the national capacity from 69.5MW-including Hydro, Thermal and Solar, to 165MW by 2012.
Among other things, the new plan will reduce high electricity tariffs which currently stand at US$23 cents per Kilo Watt and also overhaul the country’s old electricity network, cutting technical losses by 20 percent.
According to Butare, the US$ 20m Rukarara Hydropower to produce 9.5 MW is coming online earlier than expected.
“The contract of Rukarara Hydro Project was supposed to end in March 2010, but it is now expected that by the end of February, it will be added on the national grid as most of the work was completed earlier than expected.” Butare said.
Other Micro-hydro power projects financed jointly by the Government, Belgium, European Union, Netherlands and UNIDO among others, to the tune of US $75m and expected to produce about 27 MW are expected to come on line between 2009 and 2012.
He said that the 28 MW Nyabarongo Hydro power project to cost the Government US$97.7m will be coming online by end 2012. Other notable projects include the 100MW US$325 Methane Gas Project undertaken by Contour Global, is expected to be producing 75MW by the end of 2013.
Other projects in the pipeline include Rusizi III which will produce 145 MW, Rusizi IV, 285 MW and Rusumo will add 62 MW on the national electricity grid.
The Energy Rollout Action Plan has since obtained funding from the World Bank to the tune of US$70m to cater for 100,000 connections and US$30m Dutch funding will add 50,000.