Local players in the renewable energy sector are seeking partnerships with experienced players to enable them develop capacities to tap into available opportunities.
With about 100 private sector players in the local renewable energy sector, Rwanda has been able to achieve a 40.5 per cent energy access rate.
Under their umbrella body, Energy Private Developers, the players are seeking collaborations with international partners to make the most of the electrification targets.
According to the chairperson of the body, Dr Ivan Twagirashema, among the areas where they are seeking partnerships is financing and technical capacities.
Twagirashema said this will see them address long-standing challenges that have held them back from making the most of the opportunities within the sector.
He added that local firms would consider joint ventures as well as investment collaborations with international investors.
With ideal partnerships, the local firms can be in position to work toward boosting the Government’s target of 100 per cent coverage of electricity by 2024.
Currently, there are 30 companies, Rwandan and international, that are involved in hydro-power projects, which is the largest source of energy in the country.
These have seen about seven privately owned plants with a total capacity of 16 megawatts under different phases of construction with commercial operations dates planned for the near future.
About 32 projects with a total capacity of about 30 megawatts are at early stage development with feasibility studies for about 40 sites taking place.
In the solar sub-sector, there are three major operators, Mobisol, BBoxx and Ignite power, which have so far contributed about 11 per cent of all access.
Call for increased investment
Twagirashema said the Government had laid the ground for the partnership by putting in place incentives for investors.
“The opportunities are viable and the government has created a conducive business environment and put in place incentives for investors,” he said.
Experts say improved power generation capacity could play a huge role in economic development as the country is on a ramp up phase in industrialisation.
Private Sector Federation (PSF) maintains that increased investment in energy generation will see consumer demands met and prices go down.
Stephen Ruzibiza, the chief executive of PSF, yesterday told The New Times that going by a recent study by the federation across the EAC region, the cost of energy contributes between 15 per cent and 18 per cent of total production costs which he says is quite high.
“It is necessary to bring down the cost to facilitate the private sector to reduce cost of production,” he explained.
Current electricity tariffs have consumers with large industries pay Rwf83 per kilowatt, those with medium industries Rwf90 per kilowatt, while the small industries pay Rwf126 per kilowatt.
Rwanda Development Board chief executive Clare Akamanzi said the Ggovernment’s strategy of electrifying the entire country by 2024 shows the scale of opportunity for investments.
The new plan 7-5-2 aims at connecting all the households in next seven years, by 2024, connecting all the productive users by 2022, and ensuring that the entire capital is connected in the next two years by 2019.
The Minister for Infrastructure, James Musoni, said that, going forward, there is need to have innovative ways to generate power beyond hydro-electric means if the targets are to be achieved.
Musoni said increasing power generation is imperative as there is growing demand for energy in the country to match industrialisation and economic growth.