22 December 2012

Rwanda: 25 Megawatts Expected From Methane Gas Next Year

ENERGY Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) and Kivuwatt, a subsidiary of Contour Global, a New York based power company, have confirmed that the first phase of 25 MW of energy extracted from methane gas will be complete by March 2013.

This was revealed yesterday by Paul Muhire the head of EWSA in Karongi/ Kibuye substations in the Western Province.

Muhire expressed optimism that by March next year, the 25 MW of this project's energy will be added onto the national grid.

"We have already set the substation that will send the electricity from national grid and the power house has already been put in place," he further explained. Currently Rwanda produces about 100MW way below its energy needs.

Muhire added that the pipes that will filter methane from the barge to another area of higher concentration have also been put in place.

He also confirmed that phase two of the project will commence immediately after the first phase starts producing electricity.

"The other 75 MW will be extracted after the first phase has been completed and the barge will be installed then," he said.

Phase I of the project cost approximately US$142 million.

In 2009, KivuWatt received a 25 year concession from Rwanda, subsequently entering into a 25- year power purchase agreement with the country's national utility EWSA with respect to the project.

The project will extract methane gas trapped in the waters of Lake Kivu, and process the gas to use as fuel to generate the much needed electricity.

Methane gas has long been considered as the solution of Rwanda energy requirements; exploration works on the lake began in 1963 by a Belgian company but had not yielded anything.

If this generation becomes fully operation, it will be a source of energy to Rwanda for approximately four decades.

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