Gov’t in push for mini-hydro energy

The government plans to spend Rwf148 billion (about $262 million) on a four-year plan, that will see the connection of an additional 220,000 households and businesses to the power grid. This is a new drive to increase rural electrification, by pushing min-hydro power plants since the technology is still relatively cheap. The national electricity rollout plan, seeks to increase power connections from the current 130,000 to 350,000 in four years.

The government plans to spend Rwf148 billion (about $262 million) on a four-year plan, that will see the connection of an additional 220,000 households and businesses to the power grid.

This is a new drive to increase rural electrification, by pushing min-hydro power plants since the technology is still relatively cheap.

The national electricity rollout plan, seeks to increase power connections from the current 130,000 to 350,000 in four years.

In an interview with the Minister of Infrastructure, Vincent Karega, government considers all possible options to increase lighting depending on one particular area.

So far, solar energy is considered the most expensive option compared to hydro energy, biogas and wind energy.
“One good thing is that a small river connects many households and its maintenance is cheap compared to other options like solar,” Karega said.

Currently there are about 16 power plants of mini-hydro electricity that are being installed across the country and 36 institutions are connected through biogas.

Karega said that the power system is limited to only households and not heavy businesses.

He could not estimate how much has been invested in the projects but said there are many investors coming to develop grid tied min-hydro power system projects. The investors include the owner of Rwanda Mountain Tea in Nyabihu district.

Karega said government took the initiative to focus on mini-hydro power because there are many small rivers in rural areas which would be used to increase electrification.

He said once installed there wouldn’t be power blackouts.
Rwanda Energy Corporation (Reco) indicate that currently only 10 percent of Rwandan households have access to electricity and that by the end of this year the percentage will have moved to 16 percent.    

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