Congo and Rwanda: Hope for a Brighter Future
Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda had a meeting this week about the Electricity Plan that will develop cooperation and exploitation of methane gas from Lake Kivu between two countries. The lake is among the Great lakes of Africa. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo…
Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda had a meeting this week about the Electricity Plan that will develop cooperation and exploitation of methane gas from Lake Kivu between two countries.
The lake is among the Great lakes of Africa. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine (western) Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.
Rwanda and Congo are facing a huge electricity crisis as a consequence of high demand and production cost. The power provider Electrogaz is not able to support the electricity demand, forcing imports from neighboring countries. The nations has substantial hydroelectric resources, also natural gas, which could make it self-sufficient in electricity or, even a exporter.
The meeting chaired by Energy State Minister Dr. Albert Butare was tasked to draw a concept paper on a joint project of generating electricity from the lake.
The document will highlight several issues, including the lake’s energy potential, market in the region, technology to be used, time frame for discussions, project financing and, the project management team.
Studies show that the amount of methane gas and carbon dioxide in the bottom of Lake Kivu have increased by 30 percent in the last 30 years.
“These are people from the DRC’s SNEL or Societe Nationale d’Electricite and, they are here to explore our cooperation in terms of exploitation and use of methane gas in Lake Kivu,” Dr. Butare said during the meeting. “We agreed on two things then - cooperation in gas exploitation and having a joint monitoring team to regulate and formulate guidelines for methane gas exploitation. Right now, we are trying to enforce this,” Dr. Butare said.
The development of new thermal power plants to run on natural gas, or new dam construction to increase hydroelectric production requires investment.
The actions are necessary to improve the region, focusing at energy sector, such as: Exploitation of methane gas energy in Lake Kivu which has the capacity to support 700 MW power plant, opportunities in this area include generation of electricity and production of liquid gas, engine fuel and cooking gas.
Also the leaders of two countries discussed about project development of Solar energy , with electricity generation, installation of solar equipment for households and assembly plant of solar panels. The development of new thermal power plants to run on natural gas, or new dam construction to increase hydroelectric production requires investment.
Another plan exposed were of Aeolian energy, geothermal energy and fossil fuel (prospection and study results to be available by 2010). This will generate more electricity.Finally they were creating opportunities for private and public partnership in macro-hydro plants eg.
The World Bank is scheduled to approve a financing arrangement of $50m (Rwf 27.5Billion) for Rwanda to facilitate the expansion of the electric grid to more of its people, The Bank may give the grant this week.
Bringing the power line closer to its people, government says will ease the large scale development projects it is implementing. As the methane gas projects also take shape, government is seeing in the pipeline vast amounts of electricity to be generated.
In March, government signed a $325m gas-to-power deal with American firm CountourGlobal over 25 years to generate100 Megawatts of electricity from methane gas in Lake Kivu.
The gas concession and power purchase agreements signed in Kigali on March 2 after 17 months of negotiations, allow the firm to start extraction and processing of the gas into electricity and to channel it into the national power grid.