Lake Kivu lies on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lake Kivu contains about 300 billion cubic metres of Co2 and 60 billion cubic metres of CH4 gas (methane). An estimated 120 to 250 million m3 of CH4/methane is generated annually in the lake. Rwanda wishes to utilize this resource to develop methane-to-power projects and other uses such as fertilizer and gas-to-liquid projects. The methane in Lake Kivu is estimated to be sufficient to generate up to 1300MW of electricity over a period of 50 years. Rwanda’s share of the total generation potential is about 650MW, with the rest being DRC’s share. Rwanda and DRC have agree to initially jointly develop 200MW.
The first contract to develop the Lake Kivu gas has been concluded with a 25 year Gas Concession Agreement with the Government of Rwanda and a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement with Rwanda Energy Group. The first phase will develop 25MW and three further phases will deliver a total of 100MW. The first floating barge was installed in May 2015 and first delivery was expected before the end of the year. The private party has invested $198m to develop this first pilot phase.
A second investor, Symbian Power, is set to begin construction of a 50MW plant, also on the Rwandan side of the lake, and signed a 25 year power purchase agreement with the Rwanda Energy Group in December 2015. These two projects will almost double Rwanda’s current installed electricity capacity of 156MW. This will also reduce the high cost of electricity in Rwanda from an average of 24 cents per kilowatt-hour (compared with 15 cents in Kenya and 17 cents in Uganda) to 15 cents and later 12 cents.
The demands for electricity in the DRC are even greater with Goma, the largest city on Lake Kivu, having an available capacity of less than 5MW.
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