Symbion Power Lake Kivu Ltd, a subsidiary of Symbion Power LLC, last week signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) for a 50 Megawatt (MW) methane gas to power project.
The official signing involved Symbion Power CEO Paul Hinks, REG CEO Jean-Bosco Mugiraneza, and Minister of Infrastructure Hon. James Musoni.
With the PPA signed, Symbion will now begin implementation activities including detailed design, procurement and permitting for the project, which is located on the shores of Lake Kivu near Rubavu in western Rwanda.
Symbion CEO Paul Hinks said:
“Unlocking Lake Kivu’s energy potential is a game changer for Rwanda. Our team is working hard to turn this resource into affordable, reliable power for Rwanda's people. We work with governments across sub-Saharan Africa to replace expensive, imported fuel with indigenous fuel sources to produce electricity and are honored to have the opportunity to do that here in Rwanda as a part of our commitment to President Obama's Power Africa initiative. The Symbion project is a key part of Rwanda’s plan to increase generation capacity. Base load power generated from the lake resource by Symbion will help boost Rwanda’s electricity supply and lower the overall cost of electricity."
The first barge will provide 14 MW of electricity 15 months after the project reaches financial close. The full 50 MW will be commissioned within 36 months after reaching financial close. Lake Kivu contains an estimated 55 billion m3 of naturally occurring methane gas. The total power generation potential of this resource has been conservatively estimated at more than 500 MW over 40 years.
This power project will also reduce the risk of gases trapped in the deep layers of the lake rising to the surface and endangering the surrounding communities. Symbion will extract methane from the depths of the lake in a safe and controlled manner and process the gas into electricity onshore. In addition to providing the people of Rwanda with more electricity, the project will also help alleviate the risk of an uncontrolled release of gas from the lake.
Symbion Power Lake Kivu Ltd. General Manager Alexis Kabuto, who successfully developed and operated the first Rwandan power plant fueled by the methane resource in Lake Kivu, will use his experience to bring the 50 MW power project to completion.
The project underscores Symbion’s commitment to investing in sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector through close cooperation and partnership with host country governments.