Kigali, Rwanda — ESI-AFRICA.COM— 19 December 2011 – Rwanda Mountain Tea, a local tea processing company, is set to construct a mini hydropower plant, worth US$12 million that will produce 4 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which will be fed into the national grid.
Citing “The New Times”, allAfrica.com reports that the Nyabihu-based firm becomes the first local company to invest in hydro power generation. The power generated from the plant. Which is to be built on River Giciye in Nyabihu, will be used to power the tea factories, while the surplus will be sold to national energy and water utility, EWSA.
The company has signed a contract with Horizon Group, whose construction arm will partner with Tanzania-based electricity production firm, Aquifer to construct the plant. It is expected to be completed in the next 18 months.
Rwanda Mountain Tea chairman Egide Gatera signed on behalf of the company, while the CEO of Horizon Group, Eugene Haguma represented his company. The country director of Aquifer, Andrew Kazimoto, represented the Tanzanian company.
Speaking to “The New Times”, Rwanda Mountain Tea managing director Ephraim Turahirwa said the plant was part of efforts to support the government to increase access to electricity.
“The whole project will cost US$$12 million. The electricity will be used in our factories but a bigger part of it will be channeled into the national grid to power the communities around, and if there is any surplus, it can be exported to Uganda,” Turahirwa explained.
According to Haguma, Horizon will break ground in February, assuring that the firm has the capacity to undertake such or even bigger projects. “This will be the first of its kind, but I can confirm that we have the equipment and engineers to undertake projects of such a magnitude or even bigger,” he assured.
“We will work with our Tanzanian partners who have prior experience in building micro-hydro projects and we are sure that we can deliver in 18 months,” Haguma said after the signing ceremony.
Kazimoto confirmed that Aquifer had undertaken several mini-hydro projects in Tanzania in the past.