Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) have signed an agreement that will see 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 this friday 22 september by Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion.
Lake Kivu contains an estimated 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. Only 25 Megawatts is produced today.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York City Hinks said, “We are very excited about our new partnership with HGHL, they are injecting $100 million of cash equity into the Rwanda projects of Symbion Energy. The work will begin in earnest in November 2017 and this funding means we can fast track 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 rehabilitated and expanded.”
Hinks continued, “Rwanda is one of the very few countries in Africa that properly plans ahead of time and they understand that substantial power capacity is necessary to attract investors to create 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, Rwanda ranks highest in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index and our experience there is a complete endorsement of that. HGHL’s confidence in the country and in Symbion is evidenced by their willingness to make Rwanda their first large-scale investment in Africa.”
Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL, said “This is perhaps the most interesting and exciting project that I have undertaken, inclusive of our recent offshore wind farms in the North Sea, in Germany.” He continued, “We will be producing electricity by utilizing 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. As with all my colleagues I am proud to be assisting Rwanda,” said Laidlaw.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet, Honorable Clare Akamanzi said, “This partnership is a really great example of a co-investment that will fuel our country’s sustainable development and our growth agenda. We are impressed and we are committed to support 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 joined Symbion at the signing, underscoring the continued partnership between Power Africa and Symbion and the importance of American companies in accelerating energy sector investment to bring power to millions of Rwandan households and businesses.
These 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 working closely 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.