HomeRegional NewsCentral AfricaRwanda's KivuWatt energy project to move ahead

Rwanda’s KivuWatt energy project to move ahead

At work on the
waters of Lake Kivu
New York, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 26 August 2011 – ContourGlobal “’ a company which develops, acquires and operates electric power and district heating businesses around the globe “’ has signed agreements for a loan facility of US$91.25 million to complete Phase I of its KivuWatt project, an integrated methane gas extraction and production facility and associated 25MW power plant on Lake Kivu in Rwanda.

A company statement released here and in London, The Hague and Tunis said the agreements were with the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, Netherlands Development Finance Company, the African Development Bank, and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries.

It explained that the combined project would remove and process otherwise hazardous methane gas trapped in the waters of Lake Kivu for use as fuel to generate critically needed electricity for sale to Rwanda’s Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA). EWSA is the national power utility of Rwanda, where the vast majority of the population does not currently have access to electricity.

The signing of the loan agreements took place at the KivuWatt project site, which also celebrated the launching of the 750-t barge that will house the gas extraction facility and the ground-breaking for the power plant.

By tapping the indigenous fuel, which is comprised of sub-surface methane dissolved in Lake Kivu’s deep water, the KivuWatt project will significantly lower the cost of electricity necessary to drive Rwanda’s fast growing economy. It will also represent the first large-scale use of the gas, the extraction of which will greatly mitigate the environmental hazards associated with a natural release of the lake gases, as well as provide an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of power generation.

This 25MW represents Phase I of the KivuWatt project, which has enjoyed extremely strong support from the international development community, as demonstrated by these loan agreements.

EAIF chairman Tony Lea said. “The KivuWatt project is one of the most innovative in the history of electricity generation. EAIF is delighted that its role as co-arranger of the debt finance will enable the exploitation of the renewable gas resource in Lake Kivu for the benefit of Rwanda and Rwandans.”