Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd signed a deal that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, it was announced today by Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion.
Lake Kivu contains almost 55 billion cubic meters of naturally occurring methane gas. The total power generation potential of the resource has been conservatively estimated at more than 500 MW over a 40-year period.
Hinks said at the signing ceremony in New York City, “We are excited about our new partnership with HGHL; they are injecting $100 million of cash equity into Symbion Energy’s Rwanda projects. The work will begin in November 2017 and this funding means we can speed up at least 22MW of power within 18 months. Roughly 8 to 10 MW of that can be available by mid-2018 from the existing plant we acquired in 2016 which is known as KP1. It will be expanded and rehabilitated.”
Hinks continued, “Rwanda is one of the very few countries in Africa that properly plans in advance and they understand that substantial power capacity is necessary to attract investors to contribute towards economic growth and deliver electricity to its population. The demand for power in Rwanda is suppressed by the lack of surplus capacity and these two projects will facilitate continued growth. As far as Sub-Saharan Africa is concerned, in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index Rwanda ranks highest and our experience there is a complete endorsement of that. HGHL’s confidence in Symbion and the country is evidenced by their willingness to make Rwanda their first large-scale investment in Africa.”
Chairman at HGHL, Lord Irvine Laidlaw, said: “This is perhaps the most exciting and interesting project that I have undertaken.” He continued, “We will be producing electricity by using a unique renewable resource, methane from the bottom of Lake Kivu. Delivering this will be a challenge I look forward to.” “Even more important, we are generating power for one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, so we’ll be making a major contribution to its continued growth. I and my colleagues are proud to be assisting Rwanda,” said Laidlaw.
Honorable Clare Akamanzi, The CEO of the Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet, said, “This partnership is a great example of a co-investment that will fuel our country’s growth agenda. We are impressed and we are committed to supporting the investors and the project to attain Rwanda’s full potential in the energy sector.”
USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson was present at the signing, underscoring the continued partnership between Symbion and Power Africa and the importance of American companies in accelerating energy sector investment to bring power to millions of Rwandan households and businesses.
The two power projects will reduce the risk of gases that are trapped in the deep layers of the lake escaping and rising to the surface, endangering the surrounding communities.
Symbion is partnering with the government of Rwanda and its regulatory agencies to ensure that its Lake Kivu projects deliver affordable energy in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.