Three micro hydro-power plants were yesterday inaugurated in Rutsiro and Rubavu districts by a Belgian development agency.
The three plants, installed by the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), cost more than Rwf 9 billion and will produce 3.2MW.
Upon completion of the transmission lines, more than 300 households and over 100,000 inhabitants are expected to benefit from the new infrastructure.
The Ambassador of Belgium in Rwanda, Marc Pecsteen, said Belgium was committed to supporting Rwanda’s energy sector, which he described as a backbone for the country’s development.
“These micro power plants are essential in reaching the ambitious targets set by the government of Rwanda to increase production and distribution of electricity for both the rural and urban population,” said Marc Pecsteen.
Vincent Ntakirutimana, a 50-year old resident of Nkora Cell in Rutsiro District, expressed his gratitude for the new installations.
“We won’t be forced to sleep early anymore and our children will be able to do their homework easily in the evenings. We will be able to listen to the radio to know what’s happening around the world without worrying about batteries,” Ntakirutimana said.
Another resident, Anne Marie Nsengiyumva, was happy that health facilities, schools and local administration offices in the area will also be connected with power.
The Minister of State, in charge of Energy and Water, Emma Isumbingabo, said that electricity was an engine for economic development.
“The Government has set out clear targets, i.e. 1000 MW production and 50 percent of connections by 2017, since we consider electricity as an engine to spur social and economic development of our country,” she said.
“These three micro hydropower plants are yet another important step in the right direction to increasing access to electricity to the population”.
Belgium has continuously supported rural energy in Rwanda. The current cooperation programme between Belgium and Rwanda worth €160 Million (2011 – 2014) has committed 55 Million Euros to support electricity access roll-out programme, especially in rural areas.