Inside five projects expected to accelerate Rwanda’s universal electricity access

On 31 July 2023 at 08:27

As enshrined in the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), Rwanda is committed to achieving universal electricity coverage by 2024. The country has undertaken various projects, both ongoing and in the pipeline, to meet this ambitious target.

56 megawatts to be generated from Methane Gas

The Methane Gas Electricity Generation Project in Lake Kivu is set to produce 56 megawatts, with its first phase already completed, generating 20 megawatts. Théoneste Higaniro, Head of Power Generation Projects at Rwanda Energy Group (REG), has expressed excitement about the project, stating that it will soon start generating electricity as planned.

The second phase aims to add 36 megawatts, bringing the total capacity to 56 megawatts, and Higaniro is optimistic that this goal will be reached by August. All electricity generated from this project will be supplied to Rwanda.

Rusumo Hydro Power Plant

The Rusumo hydro power plant, part of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFP), is a joint effort between the governments of Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. With an expected generation capacity of 80 megawatts, the plant will distribute approximately 26.6 megawatts to each beneficiary country. The project aims to connect a substantial number of households, benefiting 520,000 in Burundi, 467,000 in Rwanda, and 159,000 in Tanzania. The power plant, located at Rusumo Falls on the border of Rwanda and Tanzania, is currently undergoing testing and is anticipated to be operational by August.

Electricity Transmission from Uganda

Rwanda has recently completed the construction of power transmission lines connecting it to neighboring countries, particularly Uganda, from which an additional 40 megawatts of electricity have been procured. Although this supply is not used full time, it serves as an alternative during periods of high electricity demand, reducing the reliance on generators powered by diesel or petrol.

Nyabarongo II Power Plant

The Nyabarongo II power plant, being constructed on River Nyabarongo, is expected to produce 43.5 megawatts upon completion in 2026.

Higaniro explained that this project will be essential in maintaining a steady electricity supply during dry spells when other plants might experience reduced generation. Furthermore, with enough electricity anticipated by the time this plant estimated at Rwf214 billion is completed, Rwanda might explore the possibility of selling excess electricity to neighboring countries.

Rusizi III Power Plant

Rusizi III Hydro Power Plant is a joint project between Rwanda, Burundi, and DR Congo, aiming to generate a total of 206 megawatts. Each beneficiary country will receive an allocation of 68 megawatts from this power plant. With these projects, Rwanda’s electricity supply capacity is expected to increase by over 100 megawatts by the end of 2023.

Rusizi III Power Plant is expected to be completed at a tune of US$759 million.

Over the years, Rwanda has made significant progress in expanding its electricity access, with the percentage of households connected to electricity rising from 18% in 2012 to 61% in 2022. Of these, 47% are linked to the national grid, while 14% access electricity through off-grid systems, primarily solar-powered solutions.

With these transformative projects, Rwanda is on track to achieve its goal of universal electricity access, further enhancing economic growth and improving the lives of its citizens.