Reasons behind Rwanda’s decision to shut down diesel power plants

By Esther Muhozi
On 24 May 2024 at 01:07

Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure has declared the cessation of electricity production from petroleum derivatives in June 2023, primarily diesel, citing high costs and environmental harm.

During the National Security Symposium on May 23, 2024, the Minister of Infrastructure Minister Dr. Jimmy Gasore elaborated on Rwanda’s decision. He discussed the broader context of energy concerns in Africa, focusing on sustainable solutions and the continent’s potential and hurdles in energy development.

Dr. Gasore conveyed the significance of energy in achieving Rwanda’s Vision 2050 goals, intending to elevate Rwanda into the ranks of high-income nations by 2050, with energy infrastructure playing a crucial role.

Addressing how Rwanda’s energy strategies align with its environmental commitments, Dr. Gasore noted the manageable nature of this challenge in Rwanda, tackled by prioritizing and executing critical goals.

"Our energy policies first address urgent needs," he explained. "Providing adequate energy for national development is our priority. Ensuring affordability is next, as it supports our goals to boost industry and investment competitiveness on multiple levels. Low costs are essential for effective competition."

He added that the third priority is the environmental sustainability of energy resources. "Our focus is also on sustainable energy use, managing climate change impacts, and meeting our national obligations. Although diesel remains an option due to its capability to meet immediate energy needs, its high cost drives our shift towards renewable sources."

Dr. Gasore also stated that while diesel power stations have been discontinued, they remain available for emergencies. "Since last June, we’ve stopped using diesel power stations regularly, though they’re maintained for potential crises."

In March 2024, following a power deficit in 2023, the Ministry reported that no cost-effective alternative was available, prompting the Rwanda Energy Group to expend Rwf5 billion on diesel.

Minister Gasore was one of the speakers at a conference focused on energy issues in Africa and exploring ways to encourage the use of sustainable energy sources.