All people in Rwanda should have power within the next seven years, according to a grand plan by the government.
Paul Kagame’s government wants Kigali, the capital city, to be fully lit within the next two years.
These new plans were recently announced by Ron Weiss, the new boss at Rwanda Energy Group, who has already made his intention of achieving those targets by committing all its subsidiary companies to performance contracts.
In those performance contracts, Weiss wants the utility companies to improve the power distribution network, ensure an improvement in the distribution network, reduce power losses in order to increase revenue collections, and most importantly ensure that the staff is doing its job.
One of the utility firms, Energy Development Corporation Ltd, has promised to increase the access to electricity to 45 per cent by June 2018, from the current 35.6 per cent.
The signing of the performance contracts came three months after Weiss went on a countrywide tour of the power plants to assess the gaps in the sector and come up with the right solutions.
During that tour, Weiss found that the distribution lines and some substations needed to improve.
Rwanda is already exploring different sources of energy to ensure that the generation capacity meets the demand.
The 80MW peat-to-power plant, the first of its kind in East Africa, was launched in May.
Last year, Rwanda launched a 26MW methane gas power plant along Lake Kivu.
Plans to have another 50MW methane gas power plant are already underway.
However, the government plans to reduce the percentage of thermal in the energy mix to about 20 per cent from the current 23 per cent.
Thermal energy is more expensive to produce than many other types of renewable energy.
Whether Rwanda will achieve its ambitious target of having the entire country fully connected to electricity by 2024 is hard to tell.
It is, however, achievable if the country worked on its distribution lines and tapped into the neighbours’ generation capacity.
Neighbouring Tanzania has already called for bids for the construction of a 2,100MW hydro power plant on River Rufiji.
It is very likely that when the construction of this power plant is done, sometime in 2021, some of the electricity will be exported to countries such as Rwanda.