The Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) is looking at funding more methane gas projects to contribute to the government’s ambitious goal of generation 1,000 MW of electricity by 2020.
In 2016, BRD adopted a strategic orientation for 2016-2020, in which energy was designated as a priority sector. Since then, it has financed and co-financed power plants for a total energy generation of 82.2 MW, while others equivalent to 65.9 MW are in the pipeline.
“These include methane gas projects that the bank is considering to fund with other investors,” says Hector T. Mutijima, Senior Manager in charge of Energy Financing at BRD. The projects co-financed by BRD will catalyse 4.8 times the private investments, and provide electricity to about 374,000 households. With the aim of increasing access to electricity in remote areas, the bank has nurtured relationships with solar power companies to roll out a program to set up mini electricity grids and solar home solutions. To expedite the roll-out and reach a maximum number of households, BRD will also partner with commercial banks, micro-finance institutions, and SACCOs.
“With regards to energy generation, we look at clean energy – we only fund renewable, clean energies. We also plan to upgrade existing plants with better equipment to make them more efficient, and considering ways to reduce the public electricity bill through efficient consumption and generation. Last but not least, we are working to improve the technical services we give to energy project promoters,” Mutijima explains.
The major projects include an 80 MW peat-to-power plant that is being co-financed by BRD and other international lenders. Signed off in November 2016, the project will cost US$ 385 million and take three years (starting January 2017) to complete.
BRD also f inanced several hydropower projects:
Currently, the country produces 190.8 MW of electricity, and the installed generation capacity has almost doubled since 2010. As a result of the government’s Electricity Access Rollout Programme (EARP) and related initiatives which essentially target more rural areas, electricity access in Rwanda is growing rapidly.
27% of the population now has access to electricity (24.3% on-grid, 2.7% off-grid). Statistics indicate that electricity access increased from about 160,000 households in 2012 to 570,000 in February 2016, which means an average of 82,000 new households connected to the grid annually for the BRD has nurtured relationships with solar power companies past five years.
Read this article and more in issue n° 77 of Hope Magazine.