kivuwatt methane power plant
The KivuWatt methane power plant is currently generating 22MWs of its 25MW full capacity. Pic credit: Power-technology

Last week, CEO of the Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, confirmed that the KivuWatt methane power plant has commenced operation, following a set of technical delays in September.

The power plant is undergoing early testing, generating 22MWs out of its 25MW installed capacity, the New Times reports.

According to Mugiraneza, the KivuWatt methane power plant has been strategically connected to the transmission line from the Karongi District to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali.

KivuWatt methane power plant examined for fitness

While supporting these developments, KivuWatt country director, Jarmo Gummerus, added that the plant technicians are still testing several elements of the power plant and expect to have the full 25MWs online by the end of this month.

According to REG’s peat and methane gas specialist Gerard Rusine, the facility comprises of three generators and the on-going tests have so far been successful. These tests are being performed to ensure the stability of the plant-to-grid generation.

Rusine added that the plant generated between 15MWs and 17MWs of power last week.

Power plant to reduce budget spend

According to local media, the KivuWatt methane power plant testing process will contribute towards reducing the need for load-shedding, as well as reducing the current spend on heavy fuel imports needed to generate 51.7MWs from thermal energy.

The completion of the KivuWatt methane power station will assist government towards its ambition to add at least 61.5MW by the end of this financial year.

The media reported that the 61.5MWs expected this fiscal year is expected to come from ongoing projects, including the Gishoma Peat Plant (15MW), the Giggawatt Solar Power Plant (8.5MW), as well as the planned importation of 30MWs from Kenya.

According to The New Times, Lake Kivu’s methane resources are enough to generate up to 700MW of electricity over 55 years.¬†Of the 700MWs, Rwanda has been allocated 350MWs, with the rest to be utilised by the DRC.