World Bank grants $140 million for gas-extraction facility in Rwanda

Posted: May 6, 2011 in News
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By RNA Reporter–Thursday, 05 May 2011

Kigali: The World Bank has approved an investment guarantee of  $140 million as part of the support to the Kivu–Watt project, which is dedicated to implement an integrated methane gas extraction and production facility with its associated 25 megawatt power plant in Lake Kivu (west), official sources said on Thursday in Kigali.

According to a statement issued to RNA by the bureau of World Bank representative in Kigali, it is expected that the combined project will is dedicated to degas the deep water of Lake Kivu, and process the gas to use as fuel to generate much-needed electricity for the national power utility of Rwanda.

Rwanda official statistics show that access to energy is down at 7 percent in 2010 but with a projection to reach 8 percent in 2012, while only a total of 70 000 Rwanda have access to electricity.

However, sources say that the country is slowly taking steps towards the exploitation of numerous renewable energies as a way to ensure that the large majority of its predominantly rural, population has access electricity

Since 2007, the Central African nation has embarked on an ambitious project dedicated to exploit all possible efficiency and renewable energy strategies, including the gas methane project in the western Rwanda’s killer Lake.

Officials in Kigali argue that by tapping the indigenous fuel, which comprises of sub-surface methane dissolved in Lake Kivu’s deep water, the new subsidized project will significantly lower the cost of electricity necessary to drive Rwanda’s fast growing economy.

The KivuWatt project is currently under construction in Kibuye (west) where the barge housing the gas extraction facility is nearing completion and is expected to be launched in early June 2011.

“The Finland based firm Wartsila is manufacturing the electricity generating engines and will begin constructing the power generating station [in the region] beginning in May 2011”, the statement noted.

“Rwanda has tremendous potential for economic growth, but the persistent challenge of a lack of power infrastructure has been a huge constraint,” commented on his part, the senior representative of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) World Bank group which has allocated this funding.

“We are pleased that we were able to facilitate this investment into a complex renewable project that will help Rwanda achieve one of its key development objectives”, said Izumi Kobayashi, MIGA’s Executive Vice President. (End)

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