KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- To deal with a biting power deficit, Rwanda is set to start using peat power from Africa's first peat fired plant, by February 2015, KT Press exclusively reports.
A Chinese company, Shengli Energy Group Ltd, under supervision of an Indian firm, Punj Lloyd Ltd, is operating the Gishoma peat power plant in Rusizi district, Western Rwanda.
The $36m project will produce cheaper electricity compared to hydro or thermal.
The 15MW plant will also boost Rwanda's current 96MW national grid capacity by 15%.
"We will try to increase it," said Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Energy Group.
This plant is just a tiny extraction from the large deposits of peat underneath Rwanda's earth. "We are doing a peat master plan so that when we call investors, we can say this is the number of tons we have in this area," said Mugiraneza.
An earlier study by Ekono Inc., an American firm, established that Rwanda has reserves estimated at 155 million tons of dry peat spread over 50,000 hectares.
Turkey-based Hakan, an Independent Power Producer, is also building another peat power plant in Gisagara district, Southern Rwanda, meant to generate 80 MW by 2017.
The plant plans to add more 40MW to its capacity, with a $260m investment.
By 2017, Rwanda's peat power production is expected to be 145MW, accounting for 27% of the total national grid capacity.
Rwanda's electricity production has grown from 5% in 2005 to 21%. The government says it intends to produce 70% by 2017.
Over the last twenty years, the country has seen a sharp increase in its installed capacity, from 25MW in 1994 to 119MW today.
To date, biomass – used in the form of firewood, charcoal and agricultural residues for cooking purposes – remains Rwanda's main source of energy, accounting for 85% of total energy consumed. Petroleum products contribute 11% while electricity consumption stands at 4%.
To slash overdependence on biomass to 55% by 2017 and 50% by 2020, the country eyes a harmonious energy mix, mainly of peat, hydro, solar, and methane.
Rwanda's electricity amalgam is currently made of mainly hydro (53%) and thermal (46%), with solar and methane making up just a negligible portion.
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SOURCE KT Press