KIGALI - Wind energy production has been given a boost after a feasibility study located five potential wind sites in Kayonza and Ngoma Districts in the Eastern Province, that can be exploited for power generation.
Under the name: “Study for the assessment of wind power resources in Rwanda,” the research was financed through a grant from the Belgian Technical Cooperation.
During a presentation at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Guillaume De Volder, one of the experts, explained that, by use of global meteorological data, the areas were located and wind assessment equipment installed.
A preliminary wind map was, thereafter, created on basis of the data, showing regions with the highest wind potential.
De Volder was, however, quick to note that although the prospect of wind energy production was inviting, more research is still needed to ascertain its full potential.
“We have found potential, but it is too early to advise the government to invest in wind energy. We have to scratch deeper and find out the real potential,” De Volder said.
The stakeholders, who attended the presentation urged 3E, the firm that De Volder represents, and its partners to identify more sites to make the project more viable, saying that data from the five sites in sot sufficient for such an important prospect.
An official from the Rwanda Metrology Centre advised 3E to consult with their department in order to ease operations of locating viable sites.
“You should foster partnership with the local meteorological department because we have some of the information that you may need,” the official said.
“I also advise you to carry out surveys along major water bodies, such as Lake Kivu or Muhazi; such areas have potential of being high wind sites.”
An advisor in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Nacer Hammani, expressed optimism in the survey, saying that it would provide Rwanda with a clean energy alternative to drive its economy.
“Only one confirmed wind site has the capacity to produce 200MW of electricity in one year, so you can see what we are talking about,” Hammani said.
During the study, MTN Rwanda offered access to three of its telecommunication towers, where wind sensors and solar radiation sensors were installed.
The outcome showed encouraging solar radiation levels, which would welcome a long-term investment in solar energy for the production of 1,180 to 1,440 kilowatts a year.