Electricity is among the key priorities of thegovernment, the Prime minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has announced. The Premier made the statement while presenting the government's key achievements in the last four months (late April to early September), and the plans for the three months ahead during the government's accountability day yesterday.
"We want at least 10% of Rwandans to have access to electricity at the end of this year," declared Habumuremyi adding that the government is committed towards boosting electricity supply in the country.
"We want to enhance the electricity productivity to 110 megawatts in this fiscal year. The target is to have reached atleast1,000 Megawatts by the year 2017. We have to work hard for that."
According to Habumuremyi only those in villages (Imidugudu) will be regarded and whenever a big or small hydropower plant is built, the first beneficiaries will be the people in the surroundings villages.
He also revealed plans to light every new road despite its length. "Roads like Musanze-Kigali, Kigali-Gatuna, Musanze-Rubavu, etc will soon benefit from public lights. The budget is available," he said.
Electricity has been a major challenge of the country's development. Currently the electrification rate stands at 9 per cent with 142,697 connections. The plan though was to hit 16 per cent this year, with at least 350,000 connections nationwide.
During the 9th Annual Leadership Retreat at Gako (Eastern province) in December last year, President Paul Kagame reiterated the country's need for electricity.
"Do you have to attend thousands of seminars on the lack of electricity in Rwanda? Do you need to study how bad it is not to have electricity to power our industries, to light our homes and our streets? We need electricity, not stories about electricity," said President Kagame then.
According to Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), electricity in Rwanda is provided by means of thermal and hydroelectric power. Thermal power is the more costly alternative and is produced by means of fuel, heavy fuel and methane gas.
Rwanda thermal power plants are currently JABANA I power plant (7.8 MW), JABANA II power plant (using heavy fuel to produce 20 MW) and Methane gas extracted from Lake Kivu (4 MW).
Aggreko rental power generators, which were installed during the energy crisis of 2004, have reduced production from 15 MW to the current 7 MW. Thermal power plants provide 40.3 MW power to the country. Hydropower is basically produced by means of water dams turning turbines, which in turn produce electricity.
The plants of Ntaruka, Mukungwa, Gisenyi and Gihiralocated in the northern and southern parts of the country, are producing a total capacity of 26.5 MW.
An additional 16.3 MW are injected from foreign supply.