Kigali, Rwanda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 06 March 2012 – The government of Rwanda is to invest about US$1 billion on geothermal energy development including power plant construction, drilling of more wells, infrastructure, drilling materials and services.
Revealing this here, a consultant at the Energy Water and Sanitation Agency (EWSA), Stephen Alumasa, has divulged that well drilling in potential areas identified to have geothermal reserves will soon begin. They include the slopes of Mounts Karisimbi, Kinigi and Gisenyi.
“We have already signed a contract with a Chinese firm, China Petroleum Technology and Development Corporation (CPTDC) to supply drilling materials to the tune of US$7 million,” Alumasa stated. He added that scientific studies in the potential areas carried out by Ackland Uniservices Limited, a New Zealand company, were complete.
“Currently, we are carrying out a data interpretation exercise that will give us a final report on this project,” he explained.
According to Alumasa, the latest survey indicates that both Gisenyi and Kinigi are equally rich in geothermal reserves although not as well-endowed as Karisimbi. He pointed out that two of the three areas had the potential to produce about 150 megawatts (MW) of power each.
By 2017, the government of Rwanda expects to be producing at least 300MW from geothermal energy and this, according to EWSA, has potential to provide half the energy the country will require by 2020.
The acting Head of the Geothermal Unit at EWSA, Aimable Habinshuti, told The New Times that drilling materials would be delivered in less than five months. “As soon as these materials are delivered, drilling will start and we shall also consider starting work in Bugarama, another site identified to have potential for geothermal exploration,” he explained.
Earlier plans had indicated that drilling would start in April this year, but officials say changes were made due to the final scientific study that took almost four months.