The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Second Phase of Methane Gas Extraction Due

Plans to kick start the second phase of methane gas extraction from Lake Kivu to produce 75MW of electricity are in high gear after it emerged that the country's first fruits from the project are due in March this year.

Despite financial hitches that derailed the project's initial stages, Kivuwatt, a subsidiary of Contour Global with a 25-year concession deal on Lake Kivu, finally announced last month that Rwanda's electricity grid will be boosted by 25MW from the methane gas project in March. In an interview with The New Times on Friday, the Director General of Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), Yves Muyange, said that Kivuwatt has already began plans for the second phase, which will see an additional 75MW produced by the end of 2012.

"The first phase of the project cost US$142 million but the cost for the second phase is not yet known. They (Kivuwatt) are working on the financial structure of the second phase so as to immediately usher in the complete production of 100MW from methane gas in Lake Kivu as soon as possible. Once they are done, they will present the structure to us for assessment," Muyange said.

"This is an important project that is set to boost energy production and consumption, as well as push Rwanda towards achieving its vision 2017 to avail electricity to 50 per cent of the population.

Currently, only 16 per cent of the population has access to electricity.

Gerard Rusile, the Kivuwatt Project Officer, said that the infrastructure was now in place to ensure that the project is undisturbed by either financial or environmental hitches that in the past inevitably shifted its production deadline from 2012 to 2013.

"There is good progress and the designs are all in place- this is a good step if you put in context the complications involved in extracting methane gas from a unique lake like Kivu. Also important is that the financing groups are all ready and willing to see the project through."

The project, is being financed by a number of banks such as Africa Development Bank and once complete, Rwanda's total energy capacity will double from the current 100MW.

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