Rwanda targeting 300 MW of geothermal power in next six years  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Engineering News has an article on interest in geothermal power in Rwanda (the country also has some interesting power generation potential using gas from the great lakes) - Rwanda targeting 300 MW of geothermal power in next six years .

Rwanda plans to include geothermal power in its energy mix in a bid to tackle severe electricity challenges and power its fast-expanding economy. The East African nation says it has set itself a target of generating 300 MW from geothermal sources in the next six years.

Stephen Onacha, an energy expert at Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure, says that the drilling of three geothermal exploration wells, at a cost of $20-million, will start this year.

The decision to invest in geothermal energy is part of a comprehensive energy diversification programme aimed at expanding Rwanda’s installed capacity to 1 000 MW in seven years, connecting more people to the grid and driving economic growth.

The programme is expected to cost a staggering $900-million, and various financers, such as the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Union, have already committed to assisting Rwanda in the implementation of key projects, including the upgrading of the country’s dilapidated transmission and distribution infrastructure and the construction of new generation plants.

Although Rwanda is East Africa’s fastest-growing economy, with the World Bank forecasting gross domestic product growth of 7% in 2010, the country has been facing major energy challenges.

The Rwanda Electricity Corporation says the country’s installed capacity stood at a mere 69 MW in 2009, but plans are under way to increase this capacity to 130 MW by the end of next year through investments in small hydropower plants and methane gas plants. Only 6% of the population is connected to the electricity grid.

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