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MININFRA Energy Sector Towards equitable access to energy for economic growth



The Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Infrastructure has committed to meeting energy needs for all sections of the economy and households from different economic status across the country The Rwanda Energy Policy aims at supporting national development through: Ensuring the availability of sufficient, reliable and affordable energy supplies for all Rwandans; promoting the rational and efficient use of energy; establishing environmentally sound and sustainable systems of energy production, procurement, transportation, distribution and use.

The policy statements on key issues include; integrated approach to energy planning, use of indigenous energy resources, energy efficiency and conservation, energy pricing and subsidy policies, regulatory framework, energy sector governance, institutional framework and capacity building, triggering private sector participation and financing energy sector investment.

Power connections to disconnect poverty

Rwanda recognizes the importance of energy sector in the development of the country. The Government is opting to have a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply for businesses to operate, hospitals to function and people to undertake activities beyond the sunset.  To make this a reality, the government is targeting to provide electricity access to 70% of households by 2018 and increase power generation through both green and cost effective domestic resources and regional imports. In addition to electricity, MININFRA is also bringing innovative biomass solutions such as biogas digesters to a nation where 85% of energy consumption is from biomass, having reduced from 99% in 2000.

The current installed capacity is 160MW but GoR has set a target of producing 563MW by the year 2017 through diversification of energy sources to have affordable energy in Rwanda. Apparently, the government is developing domestic energy resources such as hydro power, peat, Methane, solar as well as importing electricity from neighboring countries, involved in regional projects including oil pipeline, regional interconnection all of which will increase the market size for energy trading in Rwanda and in the region respectively.

Rwanda actively participates in regional cooperation and integration in the energy sector and master energy plans in the EAC are currently being developed.

The East African Power Pool (EAPP) consisting of 9 members for cooperation and trading is in existence.National power generation capacity increased by 61.5MW through the completed projects such as Nyabarongo I (28MW) and Giggawatt Solar power plant, 8.5MW; others in pipeline are Kivuwatt 25MW, Gishoma Peat Plant (15MW) will also boost production.

Other projects envisaged to commence soon include 800MW of peat to power (under the stewardship of YUMN Ltd, a local company owned by Hakan), 100MW of hydro power from Nyabarongo II, 50MW from methane gas to be developed by Symbion, a US-based investor and geothermal exploration to commence soon on Rubavu geothermal prospect. Meeting those objectives would be impossible without the involvement of the private sector. Private investors and developers are already working closely with the government, participate in various forums and benefit from various incentives and schemes in the energy sector.

A total of 332 hydro sites have been identified for development by the private sector. A tender for 9 micro-hydro sites of which are expected to contribute to meeting Rwanda’s energy needs has been completed.

Regional Projects/Initiatives

Oil Pipe line for refined products to connect from Eldoret -Kampala to Kigali expression of interest for construction of the pipeline was  advertised and six contractors shortlisted.

Electrical power projects under EAPP, such as several inter-country transmission lines currently ready for investment with Rwanda and Uganda, Burundi and DRC.

Hydropower projects that have been identified and require feasibility studies.

Discussions on a joint thermal power plant fuelled by LNG in Kenya: The project will involve private investors to design, finance, procurement, construct, commission, operate and maintain a 800-1000MW combined cycle gas plant. The gas will be provided through Liquefied Natural Gas imported overseas. The  power plant is expected to boost the region’s power capacity to attract more industries under IPP/PPP.

Rural connections

The government is actively increasing electricity access through the Electricity Access Rollout Program (EARP) to improve access to reliable and cost effective electricity services for households and priority public institutions and part of this plan is to reduce the losses on the grid by upgrading the network. This program has helped the development of small and medium businesses, rural education and ICT solutions, and improved health outcomes through better service delivery in hospitals.

Schools and health centers with electricity access are  43% ( Primary& Secondary) and 80.28 % ( Health clinics) Launched in 2009, Electricity Access Roll-Out Program (EARP) is a five-year flagship program crafted to realize the primary targets of the EDPRS for the electricity sector. The medium term goal of EARP phase I was an increase of the total number of electricity connections from 110,000 in 2009 to 465,436 by the end September of 2014 (about 22%), and cumulatively to 1,700,000 households by 2017, the equivalent of 70 per cent (48% on-grid and 22% off-grid).  By the end of June 2015, a total of 50,000 new connections were  realized. Transmission lines will be increased by 318.93 km and increase electricity generation from 160MW to 181MW  in progression to the targeted 563MW by 2018.

Power imports  will add 30MW while local and regional power generation will be pursued through the projects of; Giciye II, IPP Goldso II, Symbion Methane Project, Rukarara/Mushishito, Hakan Peat, Rusumo HPP, Rusizi III, KPI Thermal and geothermal exploration. Other efforts to be summoned in the equation will include improvement of management of small hydro power plants through private sector involvement and implementation of electricity loss reduction initiatives. This will involve building staff capacities in operations and maintenance as well as establishing mechanisms to monitor losses—net metering.


MININFRA  will also continue to accentuate energy efficiency initiatives. So far 866,427 economic lamps and 800 solar water heaters have been distributed to households with plans underway to install SWHs in 42 hospitals, 18 health centers and 200 households.  To further strengthen the energy source diversification, REG will install 8,000 solar home systems through MOBISOL-REG cooperation project. This will involve identification of off-grid rural and semi-urban beneficiaries in the Eastern province, create awareness, coordinate training of local technicians/sales agents and monitor installation and after-sale support. Additional 3500 households and 15 institutional bio-gas digester plants will be completed by end of June 2015 and 150 masons trained. Currently, there are 4,470 bio-gas digesters, 400 masons, 76 institutional biogas plants (52 schools, 12 prisons ad 12 collective centers).  Electrification by solar of 300 schools in rural Rwanda under the EU funded IRARPPP project will also be completed.

Construction of fuel storage facilities will be facilitated to increase storage by 35 million liters (Oilcom 19million Liters and SP 16 million Ltrs) and support the process towards construction of 150 million liter Kigali Fuel Terminal.  REG will also facilitate dissemination of 91,242 Improved Cooking Stoves (ICSs) and construction of 9 production units in 9 districts.Recently the Energy Sector were reformed to pave way to increased private sector participation  from both within and outside of the country. The sector is not only reformed to increase private sector participation but also to maximize efficiency in services and simplifies tendering procedures to allow investors and other transactions in the sector to be quick and efficient.

The policy addresses critical sector challenges, including the need to:

Enhance energy security and better align electricity demand and supply;

Ensure that tariffs and prices for energy services are cost-reflective;

Reduce coordination failures and the cost of financing infrastructure;

Meet ambitious energy access targets, without increasing the cost of electricity or subsidies, or compromising service quality and environmental sustainability;

Develop the requisite institutional, organizational, and human capacity to increase accountability, transparency, national ownership and decentralized implementation of energy service delivery;

Strengthen sector governance and stakeholder coordination mechanisms so as to realize more effective partnerships and harmonized strategic interventions;

Dramatically scale-up investments through effective private sector engagement mechanisms and a comprehensive and consistent legal and regulatory framework.

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