Rwanda has officially become part of a global universal energy initiative, dubbed “Sustainable Energy For All,” a United Nations-led initiative geared toward actions and commitments to positively transform the world’s energy systems.
The decision was made, yesterday, during the third annual iPAD Rwanda Energy Infrastructure Forum in Kigali.
The initiative was launched globally in 2012 by outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in recognition of the growing importance of energy for economic development and climate change mitigation.
At the local level, the initiative aims at scaling up access to energy, promoting the use of clean cooking technologies, increasing use of renewable sources of energy for electricity production as well as efficient use of energy.
Giving highlights of the initiative’s implementation, Robert Nyamvumba, the energy division manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure, said, by implementing the global initiative, Rwanda would seek to address issues in gender, health and energy access.
He said its implementation is also in line with the national rural electrification strategy that was approved by Cabinet this year.
The initiative will attempt to address the high dependence on biomass fuels in the country and reduce from the current 85 per cent use to about 50 per cent by 2020 while the target is under 30 per cent by 2030, Nyamvumba added.
This will largely lead to the promotion of clean cooking technologies which are increasingly cheaper due to tax reliefs.
According to the Minister for Infrastructure, James Musoni, the Government will promote the use of liquefied petroleum gas, which is currently cheaper than charcoal.
“Gas use is already cheaper than use of charcoal though most people are unaware. Going forward, we will seek ways to have it in more different sizes and packages of cylinders to make it affordable for more people as well as improved cooking stoves,” the minister said.
On electricity generation and production, Nyamvumba reiterated that they aim at increasing production by 2018 as well as step up contribution of renewable energy such as geothermal and solar through off grid and mini grid.
The share that is non-renewable will be from peat and methane gas with the two constituting around 30 per cent.
“On energy efficiency, we want to reduce energy losses and step up efficient use through measures such as energy reduction lamps as well as address concern such as aspects of indoor pollution from cooking,” he said.
Rwanda has an electricity penetration rate of about 27 per cent with grid solutions contributing a majority of 25 per cent, while non-grid solutions contribute 2 per cent.
With the government targetting 563 megawatts by 2018, the country is currently generating about 190 megawatts.
Rwanda Energy Group chief executive Jean Bosco Mugiraneza said the agency targets to reach 70 per cent of the population and 100 per cent of government institutions by 2018.
This, he said, creates a huge room for private public partnership to boost local capacities and make necessary investments towards the ambitions.
Mugiraneza added that they plan to continue working with off-grid power solutions to continuously ensure access to power.
Already, there are more than 10 players in the off-grid power solutions provision operating in the country.
Kipyego Cheluget, the assistant secretary-general for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, said Rwanda is likely to achieve the targets given the huge resource allocations by the government to the sector, the existing policies to attract investments as well as participation in regional integration initiatives.