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Rwanda: Power sales contract for award-winning hydro plant

The power sales contract for the 1.9 MW run-of-river small hydro plant Rucanzogera was signed late December, with the government-owned Rwanda Energy Group. Rucanzogera is a unique project in the eastern part of Rwanda. This project will benefit from a EUR 0.5 million grant from the Energy and Environment Partnership for Africa (EEP).* The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has in addition contributed considerably to realize the project by giving grant for concept development, transfer of knowledge and training of local staff and cost sharing for construction of needed local infrastructure such as roads and grid connection beneficial for the local community.

*The Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) a clean energy facility hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with financing from Austria, Finland and NDF.

The PPA with Rwanda Energy Group was signed late December. Photo: Malthe Winje

The small hydro plant has been developed by the Rwandan company TIGER (Travaux d’Ingenierie Generale du Rwanda), in partnership with Malthe Winje, a specialised Norwegian engineering and construction company. Empower New Energy will, together with TIGER and Malthe Winje, bring impact equity capital for the project. The plant will deliver 9 GWh a year of clean energy in one of the least developed regions in Rwanda. The total cost of the project is estimated at USD 7.9 million. As well as bringing clean, reliable electrification to rural communities, it will also save more than 7,000 tons CO2 per year. 

Rwanda’s national electrification rate is estimated at 30% (12% in rural areas, 72% in urban areas) and the country has only 218 MW of installed generation capacity. The construction of the Rucanzogera hydro plant will service about 10,000 people with enhanced energy access, and it is estimated that the project will generate aggregated savings of around USD 67,500 per year for households in the targeted area by allowing them to access cheaper energy via the grid. The new energy generation will lead to improvements in health, sanitation, security, water supply, education, and communications facilities, and the arrival of electricity is expected to enhance the establishment of new small and medium enterprises in the area. Electrification of the markets will allow the extension of commercial activities beyond dusk.

The Rucanzogera river. Photo: Malthe Winje

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