The Senate has resolved to summon the state minister for Energy, Water and Sanitation, to explain why major energy projects have stalled and whether the government will meet its electricity targets by 2017.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Senator Perrine Mukankusi, the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance, said they would send detailed questions to Minister Germaine Kamayirese this week and that she could appear before the Senate next month.
In a session, last week, the senators agreed that they wanted to hear from Kamayirese about the delays in energy generation projects such as the 100-megawatt Kivuwatt and the 15-megawatt Gishoma peat power plant.
Poor managemnet of small energy generation plants and cases where the government has lost money in poor management of contracts to build small energy production plants will also feature in the questions to the state minister.
But at the core of the questionning will be the search for explanations on whether the government still plans on generating 563 megawatts by 2017, while the current energy production capacity is not even half of the target.
“The Senate needs to invite the State Minister for enegy to come and give us reassurance that the 563-megawatt target will be achieved, ” said Senator Jean-Damascène Bizimana.
Senator Chrysologue Karangwa said detailed explanations were needed from the government on how the energy target or “at least half of it” will be achieved.
Through its second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII), government has pledged to increase capacity of national grid to 563 megawatts, enough electricity to connect at least 70 per cent of Rwandan households by 2018.
At 17 per cent, the current access to electricity is considered very low while the current energy production capacity stands at 145 megawatts.
Through research conducted by the senatorial standing committee on economic development and finance, the senators found out that the government needs to fast-track all the current energy production projects and initiate new ones if it is to meet its energy targets by 2017.
In November, Minister Kamayirese told members of the same committee that the country’s energy targets were within reach by 2017, indicating that many energy projects were in the pipeline and could mature in the next two years.
The minister also gave reassurance that Contour Global would this month generate the long-awaited initial 25-megawatt of energy from its Kivuwatt project on Lake Kivu.
Apart from methane gas in Lake Kivu and peat from marshlands of Western Province’s Rusizi District, the government is pursuing several other energy projects, including in alternative sources such as wind and solar energy.
Through negotiations under the broader Northern Corridor Integration Projects agenda, efforts are also underway to import substantial capacity from other countries in the region, notably Ethiopia (400 megawatts) and Kenya (30 megawatts).
Senator Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba said it is time to ask the government what it still lacks to ensure that energy generation in the country goes as planned.
“Do we have enough money to meet the targets? If the money is not enough, Parliament needs to be informed so we can vote for the increase of funds to generate electricity,” Gakuba said.