Alfred Butare,
Energy Minister
 
20 October 2009 – Rwanda aims to slash power rates by a third and double power generation through gas and hydropower projects by 2012, the central African nation’s Energy Minister Alfred Butare said.

The land-locked country, whose power supply has begun to stabilize after five years of severe outages, will see the first 25 MW of a $325 million methane gas project connect to the grid by October next year, Butare told Reuters.

The Lake Kivu gas deal with ContourGlobal, a New York-based renewable power developer, will total 100 MW upon completion at the end of 2012 and is Rwanda’s biggest foreign investment to date.

The Energy Minister stated too that electricity is one of the major factors, amongst others, that facilitate a good investment environment.

Most of Rwanda’s 69 MW power output is currently produced by hydropower and heavy oil thermal generators.

Rwanda has signed an agreement with Industrial Development Group (IDG), a South African investment company, to study the feasibility of building a gas-to-liquid plant on Lake Kivu, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Butare said.

The IDG plant will convert methane gas into petroleum products like diesel, petrol and liquid petroleum gas, he said.

Vangold Resources — a Canadian company that discovered signs of oil sediments under Lake Kivu in aerial surveys earlier this year — is preparing to do an oil survey in the first quarter of 2010 under a Special Hydrocarbon Exploration License, Butare said.

The country is looking to hook up at least 16 percent of its 10 million people to the national grid in three years, up from just 6 percent now, as well as construct off-grid micro-hydropower projects in more remote areas.