Rwanda is set to add another 80 megawatts to its power grid to help address the current electricity shortage and respond to the growing demand for energy.
The additional electricity will be generated from a peat-fuelled plant set to be constructed in the southern Mamba Sector in Gisagara District, around the Akagera marshland.
The power plant, an investment of the government in partnership with Hakan, a private Turkish company, will be the second of its kind in the country after the Gishoma peat plant, which is in its final stage of completion. Gishoma peat plant is set to generate 15MW.
The project will cost an estimated $260 million (Rwf177 billion), according to officials.
Activities have already kicked off with peat mining before the plant is established.
On Wednesday, the Minister of State for Water and Energy, Germaine Kamayirese, and other officials visited the site to assess the ongoing activities.
The plant is expected to start producing electricity by the end of 2017, according to Robert Nyamvumba, the Managing Director for Energy Development Company Ltd.
The second phase of the project which will start after 2017, is expected to add another 40 megawatts to the plant, officials said.
“This project will greatly contribute to achieving our target of generating at least 563 Megawatts by 2017,” Nyamvumba said during the tour.
The government targets to connect at least 70 per cent of Rwanda’s households in the next four years.
“In addition, the fact that a private company is investing a lot of money in the project will also stimulate other investors in the energy sector,” Nyamvumba noted.
Nyamvumba said Rwanda needs more investors in the sector to generate more energy for industrial and domestic use, something he said is crucial for steady and sustainable economic growth.
The country is already investing billions of francs in energy production in order to meet its targets in line with its socio-economic development and poverty reduction strategy.
Among the areas that have received significant investment include hydro-electricity and methane gas.
Electricity is considered a key factor in attracting investors and creating new business opportunities which can help transform the country’s economy.
The cost of electricity has been a subject of debate with some people saying it remains extremely high and unaffordable, but officials say increasing the country’s energy sources will help reduce the price of electricity.