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NEW YORK, USA – 29 September, 2016 -- In a move to further strengthen the generation capacity of the Rwanda electricity network, Symbion Power has acquired the existing Kibuye Power 1 (KP1) methane gas extraction plant and the associated power generation facilities on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu at Gisenyi, the company announced today.
Speaking at the US-Africa Presidential Business Summit in New York last week, Symbion’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Hinks said, “This is our second power investment in Rwanda and we are pleased to be the proud new owner of the KP1 facilities. Whilst the capacity is quite small at 3.6MW, the plant has operated reliably for over seven years and it was the first plant to produce power from methane gas extracted from the lake. Since then, another US firm, Contour Global, has started producing up to 26MW in another area of the lake, further validating the reliability and safety of the gas extraction methodology. Indeed, all the power from the lake will so far be produced by American firms. It’s something we are very proud of back in the United States.”
Francis Gatare, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board and a Cabinet Member added, “I congratulate Symbion Power for the acquisition of KPI, and wish to commend the company's vision for business opportunities in Rwanda. Mr. Paul Hinks is an exceptional business leader, and a true partner in our development journey.”
Hinks continued, “The next step will be to make a request to the government to grant a Gas Concession and a Power Purchase Agreement to allow us to boost the output of the plant, initially to 25MW by 2018 and thereafter to 50MW by 2019. We took possession of the gas plant and power plant this week and we will soon restart operations.”
Kibuye Power 1 is the first methane gas to power project to be constructed on Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes lying on the border of Rwanda and the DRC. With a surface area of 2,700 m2 and a depth up to 500m, Kivu has a bed that resembles a mountain range with an average depth of 240m.
Lake Kivu is unique. At depths of greater than 270m plus, a “resource zone” exists that contains over 55m3 of dissolved gas, including energy rich methane. KP1 piloted the technology for the safe extraction and separation of this methane from the water and converting it into much needed electricity.
In December 2015 Symbion signed its first agreement for 56MW of methane gas power on Lake Kivu, and with the support of the Government of Rwanda, the first 14MW of that plant has been accelerated to deliver power in 2018. Symbion will eventually produce 106MW on Lake Kivu, an increase of close to 50% of Rwanda’s current total available capacity. The total investment for both Kivu projects is estimated at around $350m. Symbion is working with a number of banks and private equity partners for financing of these projects.
Hinks concluded by saying, “Rwanda is an incredibly beautiful country blessed with exceptional leadership and an outstanding population of proud, industrious millennials. In a period of only 22 years it has transformed itself into an investment destination ranked as 2nd only to Mauritius in the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Index. But Rwanda has a population of 12m and Mauritius is only 1.3m - for me, after what I’ve experienced in over 34 years working in 22 African countries, it is number one. Rwanda should be at the top of anyone’s list who is considering investing in Africa.”
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