Nation to Add 70 Megawatts to National Grid in One Year (allAfrica.com)

The Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) has committed to add 70 megawatts to the national grid before the closure of this fiscal year as previous delayed projects finally come on board to mitigate the current energy shortage.

This is in line with the new performance contracts (Imihigo) signed yesterday, between the ministry and its stakeholders to keep the institution performance well beyond the average rate standing at 73 per cent.

After registering a production increase that saw 40.5 megawatts added to the transmission lines last year, the projected 70 megawatts will come from peats, methane gas and imports from regional countries.

Presiding over the signing at the ministry offices, James Musoni, the Minister for Infrastructure, said during the fiscal year 2015/16 electricity generation will increase from 160 megawatts to 230 megawatts, while at the same time ensuring diversification of energy sources.

Among the projections Rwanda seeks, for the very first time, to import up to 30 megawatts from Kenya.

“We have signed all agreements with Kenya to import 30 megawatts right from end of last year, what is remaining is to have right interconnections to be able to import; We have also agreed with Uganda on transmission, we are working together to put up transmission lines; our deadline is next month, which means that by October we shall be able to import,” he said.

“In case Ethiopia gets ready to [export], it will as well use the same network, but before that we could have imported from Kenya or Uganda,” he added.

The government seeks to generate 563 megawatts by 2017 up from the current 160 megawatts installed capacity. It has also been paying heavily to conduct informative feasibility studies meant to explore other sources of energy like peat, geothermal and methane gas.

So far, the government has injected at least Rwf123.3 billion ($180 million) in the methane gas project that is projected to add up to 25 megawatts in the current fiscal year.

The Gishoma peat plant, that is now at the conclusive stage, will contribute up to 15 megawatts.

On the other hand, the ministry, in a document detailing contract performances, has also vowed to connect new 60,000 households to the grid while 11,000 other beneficiaries will be supplied with electricity using off-grid solutions.

Last year, according to the report, saw 50,000 new households connected to the national grid, with close to 5,600 solar home systems installed alongside 300 schools.

This financial year performance contract in the energy sector comes shortly after the cabinet approved the leasing of 15 micro-hydro power plants (at least those that generate less than 5 megawatts) to private investors.

In a separate: Interview with the board chairperson of Rwanda Energy Group Limited (REG), Alice Rwema, said improvement on cooperate governance is key to deliver as expected.

According to Rwema, Cooperate governance features highly on the targeted Imihigo this year, which is why the two companies, REG and Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), had to split to improve efficiency.

“We have various documents on the table, including a ten-year strategic plan, which we will have to adopt, those detailing procurement; IT and human resources manuals,” she said.

Statistics show that 85 per cent of the existing energy supply is traditional and green-based with 11 per cent being petrol-based, while 4 per cent is hydropower generated.

Reports indicate that lack of access to enough power generation remains a big challenge to developmental targets, even after recently a new investment code was passed granting investors with the will to invest in bigger projects tax holidays of 7 to 10 years.

Other sectors that had officials signing performance contracts with the minister are transport; urbanisation and rural settlement, alongside water and sanitation sector.