Shema Power Lake Kivu’s methane gas project boosts Rwandans’ access to electricity

On 12 October 2023 at 10:31

Shema Power Lake Kivu Ltd, a company established to enhance Rwanda’s electricity production by harnessing methane gas from Lake Kivu, has initiated energy distribution through the extensive network of Rwanda Energy Group (REG).

The Shema Methane Gas Power plant project, launched in 2019, is on track for completion by February 2024, with a total investment of Rwf400 billion. It aims to generate more than 57 megawatts of electricity.

While the overarching project is still in progress, methane extraction and electricity production operations are already underway, marking the approach of the final construction phase in Busoro, situated in the Nyamyumba sector of Rubavu District.

The initiation of electricity supply, particularly on the main grid, will bolster the national electrical capacity, benefiting various industries and essential sectors.

In an interview with IGIHE, Kabuto Alexis, the CEO of Shema Power Lake Kivu, affirmed, "The power plant we are constructing is in its final stages. Currently, we are providing 37.5 megawatts, which will integrate into the REG network. Our objective is to enhance capacity within this network. We have already completed 90% of the work and will conclude it by February 2024."

He underscored the significance of this plant for Rwanda’s energy self-reliance, explaining, "We employ innovative technology to extract methane from Lake Kivu and convert it into electricity. With a $300 million investment, this technology will enable us to boost production capacity."

He further added, "This plant is a response to the low electricity consumption. The government is actively working to expand electrical availability and actively seeking investors for methane gas exploitation."

Focusing on Lake Kivu’s potential, research indicates that the lake could yield methane capable of producing between 160 and 960 megawatts, depending on the extraction methods. This level of production could be sustained for 50 years before witnessing a 15 to 20% reduction.

Rwanda has identified five areas suitable for methane gas extraction, while the Democratic Republic of Congo, a co-owner of this resource, has identified six. The Rwandan zones have a combined potential of 300 megawatts.

Among these areas, two are located in Rubavu, one in Karongi, and the remaining two near Rusizi. Three of them are already in the process of exploitation.

In addition to Shema Power Lake Kivu, two other projects are also in progress: KivuWatt with a capacity of 26 megawatts and Kibuye Power I, which produces three megawatts.

Gasmeth Energy Ltd is planning a significant project set to commence in 2024. This project aims to address the shortage of petroleum and gas products, crucial for cooking, industries, schools, and various other institutions.