Empower New Energy announces that the power sales contract for the 1.9-MW small hydro plant Rucanzogera has been signed with the government-owned Rwanda Energy Group.
Rucanzogera, in the eastern part of Rwanda, will benefit from a EUR500,000 grant from the Energy and Environment Partnership for Africa (EEP Africa). According to a press release, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has also contributed considerably 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 for the local community.
The run-of-river plant is being developed by TIGER (Travaux d’Ingenierie Generale du Rwanda) of Rwanda, in partnership with Malthe Winje, a 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 US$7.9 million. As well as bringing clean, reliable electrification to rural communities, it will also save more than 7,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Rwanda’s national electrification rate is estimated at 30% (12% in rural areas and 72% in urban areas), and the country has only 218 MW of installed generation capacity. 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 about US$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.
EEP Africa is a clean energy facility hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund, with financing from Austria, Finland and NDF.