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Rwanda Shuts Down Diesel Power Plants, Embracing Renewable Energy Sources

In a significant move towards sustainability and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, Rwanda has officially closed down all its diesel power plants in June of this year. 

This transition comes as the nation’s hydroelectricity and methane gas capabilities have expanded, contributing substantially to the national power grid.

Infrastructure minister Jimmy Gasore revealed during an interview on Sunday, October 8, that two new power plants have played a pivotal role in this transition. 

The Rusumo Hydro Project, a joint endeavor shared by Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, is set to generate 80MW upon full operation, with each participating country receiving 26.6MW. Additionally, the Shema Power Lake Kivu Ltd, a methane gas power generation plant, aims to produce 56MW of electricity.

Before the closure of the diesel power plants, they collectively generated 26.76 percent of the country’s total electricity output. 

Rwanda also had four thermal power plants that utilized alternative fuels like methane and peat, contributing to a total of 51 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.

Felix Gakuba, the Managing Director of the Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), explained in an earlier interview that diesel-powered plants were costly due to fuel consumption. 

He emphasized that with the Rusumo Hydro Project fully operational, the diesel plants would be discontinued.

With these developments, the government envisions a reduction in electricity prices in the near future. 

Minister Gasore encouraged the use of electric vehicles, emphasizing that Rwanda has a self-sufficient electricity supply and does not depend on imports from countries like Saudi Arabia or Russia, as it does with petroleum products.

Moreover, Rwanda is actively exploring solar energy as a sustainable power source. According to Rwanda Energy Group (REG), the country boasts significant solar energy potential, with 4.5 kWh per m2 per day and approximately five peak sun hours. 

Currently, Rwanda’s total on-grid installed solar energy capacity stands at 12.230MW, originating from five solar power plants, including the Jali power plant (0.25MW), Rwamagana Gigawatt (8.5MW), Ndera Solar power plant (0.15MW), and the Nasho solar plant (3.3MW).

The Government of Rwanda is committed to increasing the number of solar power plants to further reduce production costs and harness the abundant renewable energy resources available within the country. 

This transition toward cleaner and more sustainable energy sources signifies Rwanda’s dedication to a greener future.

This story has been adopted from the New Times Publications, Rwanda.

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