Rwanda has commissioned HPP on the path to the country’s full electrification
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Rwanda has commissioned a 5 MW Musushito-Rukarara hydropower plant (HPP) to supply 175,000 households in the Nyamagabe district in the south of the country. The 32 billion Rwandan franc ($31 million) project will save 14.5,000 tons of CO2 per year equivalent to the annual absorption capacity of the trees on a 1,000-hectare area.

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The HPP construction was partially financed by the investors from Mauritius, an island state, east of the coast of Africa. The resources of two local rivers, the Musushito and the Rukarara will be used for water supply of the hydroelectric units. The power plant commissioning is another step made towards 100% household electrification the government of Rwanda is going to reach by 2024. According to the World Bank, only 47% of the country’s inhabitants had access to electricity in 2020, with 38% in its rural areas and 86% – in the cities (with the urban population share of 17%).

Hydropower is a key source of electricity in Rwanda. In 2020, it accounted for 54% of generation, while solar panels – 6%, and fossil sources – 40%, according to the estimate made by the Ember Research Center (no later data available). The 2013-2021 installed HPP capacity in the country increased from 60 to 120 megawatts (MW) and photovoltaic generators – from 1 to 38 MW, according to the data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The capacity of fossil fuel power plants (including peat plants, methane and diesel fuel ones) was 144 MW last year.

Rwanda is not the only African country seeking for solution of the energy shortage problem through hydropower development. The installed HPP capacity in the region increased by 9 GW within 2013 – 2021, which is higher than for wind turbines (5.6 GW) and lower than for solar panels (10.7 GW). At the same time, Africa is increasing investment in construction of renewable generating capacities: in 2019, their volume amounted to $9 billion, in 2020 and 2021, it increased to $11 billion and $13 billion, respectively, and by the end of 2022, it will reach $15 billion, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).


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June 2022