Rwanda to accelerate mini-hydropower plant construction

Rwanda will speed up construction of mini-hydropower plants to boost electricity in rural areas, officials said Friday.

Energy Minister Emma Francoise Isumbingabo briefed Rwandan lawmakers on the measures the government has adopted to ensure enough renewable power, such as photovoltaic and wind, as well as mini-hydropower plants will be connected to the national grid.

The briefing came after the Parliament’s political affairs commission brought a motion questioning the government’s efforts in boosting energy, particularly in the rural areas of the East African country where 95 percent of residents share less than 20 percent of the total generated electricity.

Rwanda currently has four main hydropower stations, but two in the north cannot operate at full capacity as a shortfall in rain has caused water levels of lakes and rivers to decrease since 1994 and their customers have to suffer load-shedding.

Rwanda, despite remarkable economic development in recent years, sees little progress in the energy sector, with half of its energy consumption relying on imports, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The government has set a target to generate at least 1,200 megawatts of electricity by 2020.

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