An American power company, Contour Global, is set to pre-commission its 25MW methane power project in Rwanda by early April. The project is expected to generate 100MW at completion of all phases planned but the first phase of 25MW is completed and set to commence pre-commissioning tests. Lake Kivu is estimated to hold almost 60 billion cubic metres of methane and can support the generation of between 500 and 700MW for the next 50 years. Gas from the lake is produced by separating the methane from the lake water via a separator mounted on a barge with pipes. The de-gassed water is returned to the lake while the methane is dried and compressed and piped 14km to the gas-to-power plant at Kibuye.
The next 25MW –30MW phase is set to be added in the next three years. The new plant will provide Rwanda diversity in its energy mix as it currently depends on hydropower considerably. The government’s plan is to have 1,160MW installed capacity by 2017, comprising 340MW of hydropower, 310MW of geothermal power, 300MW of methane-based power, 200MW of peat-based power and 20MW of thermal power plants.