Rwanda formally opened a mega methane gas power plant, the Kivu-Watt Gas Power project, which is expected to produce more than 100MW from Lake Kivu in Western Province, a methane-rich water body, Reuters reported. With the first phase opened, with a cost of $142m, Rwanda expects to add 26MW to the grid in a country where only a quarter of the population is connected to an electricity supply, according to News Ghana.
The KivuWatt plant is developed by the US company Contour Global, and will later add 75 MW in three 25 MW instalments between 2018 and 2019. Before the addition of the KivuWatt plant, Rwanda’s installed capacity was 186 MW. The government has said it plans to more than double that to 563 MW by 2017-2018.
The Kivu Watt power plant is the only gas water extraction power plant operating in the world, according to Contour Global officials. This multi-million dollar project is financed through a concessional loan by multiple organizations such as the African Development Bank and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.
According to the Rwanda ministry of infrastructure, methane in Lake Kivu is estimated to be sufficient to generate 700MW of electricity over a period of 55 years,
By his side, Rwanda President Paul Kagame, during the opening ceremony called on countries sharing the lake with Rwanda, such as DR Congo and Burundi to join efforts towards extracting methane gas.