Heavy fuel oil to supplement rental power

The 20MW Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) plant expected to increase power generation in the country will be complete by the end of this year.

The 20MW Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) plant expected to increase power generation in the country will be complete by the end of this year.

The new plant which is about 500 meters from Kabuye Sugar Works off Gatuna road is expected to bring down power prices to half the current cost and improve efficiency.

Rwanda mainly depends on hydroelectric power which remains the main source, comprising 60 per cent of power production.

The country also partly depends on 15 MW of rental power from Gikondo and Mukungwa. Rental power depends on fuel and is said to be expensive in the maintenance and use.

But with the installation of HFO rental power may possibly reduce by 100 percent.

Felix Gakuba project manager of Urgent Electricity Rehabilitation project said once the project is completed, we expect to decrease on rental power ratio depending on the demand, if not completely doing away with it.

He added: “We are considering not extending the contract of rental power when this project is completed before the end of this year.”  The rental power contract expires in February next year.

Gakuba revealed that the tendering process is in advanced stages to have one of the local fuel companies to supply HFO.

The project financed by the government in collaboration with the World Bank will cost €18 million (Frw13, 13,771billion) and is to be installed by Wärtsilä, a Finland company.

Upon its completion, HFO will be the second biggest power plant in the country after the Nyabarongo power plant with 27Mw yet to be constructed. This will bring power generation in the country to about 60MW.

The hydro-power project in Nyabarongo will benefit from $80 million loan approved by the government of India to Rwanda, and it’s expected to take two to three years to be complete.

The development of these plants was a government initiative to diversify the power generation due power shortage driven by poor rains which affected the existing hydro power pants.

With such initiatives, government intends to move from the current 6 percent to 16 percent power connectivity by 2012 and 35 to 50 percent by 2020.

Cement smanufactureres are the only users of Heavy fuel oil because it’s more than half of the diesel consumption.

However, government is also considering different initiatives like Solar, wind and methane gas with the intension of reducing dependency on hydro-power.

At the plant site
The plant has three engines with 7.8Mw each with three reservoirs having the capacity of 2.5million liters; two tanks have a capacity of 1 million litres each with the third one having 500 litres capacity.

The two big tanks are said to run all the three generators for 24 to 30 days at full capacity.

According to Nixon Medhi, the Construction Project Manager, two engines were already installed. The third one is expected to arrive in the country in 15 days time from Finland.

With importation and installation of the equipment, Wärtsilä is also under contract to undertake the tasks.

However, government is negotiating with them (Wärtsilä) to also sign a maintenance and operational contract. This is because the initiative is new and the country is challenged with skilled personnel to operate the machines.

The company’s contract is based on its experience in the energy market as a leading service provider and construction of power plant projects.

It operates in 70 African countries including Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Senegal, Sudan Angola and Togo among others.

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