Officials break ground on Rwanda’s 3.6-MW Musanze small hydropower project

Work on Rwanda’s 3.6-MW Musanze hydroelectric project is now under way following a groundbreaking ceremony held earlier this week.

The small hydropower plant is to be located on the Mukungwa River and will actually be built in two phases. The first, a 2.6 MW project called Rwaza 1, is expected to be completed within 18 months, while a second 1 MW addition being called Rwaza 2 will be constructed later.

The Musanze project is being developed by Rwanda‘s DC HydroPower, with energy produced by the plants to be sold via a power purchase agreement with the Rwanda Energy Group.

Rwaza 1 and 2 are expected to cost a combined US$17 million, with funding coming from several international sources, including Germany’s KfW development bank, Denmark’s Frontier Energy and sub-Saharan investment group responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding (rAREH).

The United States also provided financial and technical assistance via its Power Africa initiative.

“This power plant might be small in size, but we have no doubt that it will greatly contribute to our bold vision,” Rwanda Minister of Infrastructure James Musoni said during the ceremony, which also included officials from the German and U.S. embassies. “This project could not have come at a more opportune time, as we project our energy demand to soar.”

Musanze is part of the Rwandan government’s efforts to provide 70% of the African country’s population with access to electricity by 2018 — up from about 35% that currently has access.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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