The plant is part of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFP) under joint development by the Governments of Republic of Burundi, Republic of Rwanda and United Republic of Tanzania through a commonly owned Rusumo Power Company (RPCL).
The joint development was entered by the three governments through a Tripartite Agreement signed on 16th February, 2012.
The project is located at Rusumo Falls, at the common border of Rwanda and Tanzania on River Kagera. The power production facilities are located entirely on the south side of the bank of the Kagera River in Tanzania, while the substation is located on the northern side of the bank of the river in Rwanda.
Construction works which started in 2017 were supposed to be completed in 2020 but the project stalled due to different challenges as explained by the project manager, Darren George Protulipac hailing from Canada.
“Construction works have stalled due to encountered challenges related to contracted companies which began activities late and restrictions occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic as activities were underway. However, we are progressing well towards the final phase. We are left with minor construction works and hope that the power plant will start producing electricity for Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi towards the beginning of 2022,” he said.
Apart from the main plant, Darren has revealed that a power transmission facility to supply electricity to the three countries is also under construction in Rusumo.
He explained that the power plant will provide 26.6 megawatts to each beneficiary country which might increase.
Construction the plant expected to cost US$120 million (approximately Rwf120 billion) is fully funded by the World Bank while other activities including electricity transmission lines are estimated at US$60 million (approximately Rwf60 billion).
Théoneste Higaniro, the Head of Power Generation Projects at Rwanda Energy Group (REG) has said that the project is expected to add up to Rwanda’s efforts to achieve universal electrification by 2024.
Once the power plant is completed, Higaniro said, generated electricity will be supplied to Rwandan residents through Bugesera and Shango transmission lines.
Figures from REG show that the cumulative connectivity rate stood at 65.9% of Rwandan households including 48.1% connected to the national grid and 17.8% accessing through off-grid systems (mainly solar) as of August 2021.