Rwanda has unveiled a mega methane gas power plant, the Kivu-Watt Gas Power project, which is expected to produce 100 megawatts (MW) from Lake Kivu in Western Province, a methane-rich water body.
American energy firm Contour Global was given a 25-year concession to produce 100 MW from Lake Kivu.
Phase I of the project will cost 142 million U.S. dollars and it will be followed by three more phases expected to produce a total of 100 MW.
Methane in Lake Kivu is estimated to be sufficient to generate 700MW of electricity over a period of 55 years, according to the Rwanda ministry of infrastructure.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame Monday officiated at the inauguration of the power facility that is already producing 26 megawatts which is now connected to national electricity grid.
He called on countries sharing the lake with Rwanda, such as DR Congo and Burundi to join efforts towards extracting methane gas from Lake Kivu.
The Kivu Watt power plant is the only gas water extraction power plant operating in the world, according to Contour Global officials.
The multi-million dollar project is financed through a concessional loan by multiple organizations such as the African Development Bank and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.
Germaine Kamayirese, minister of state in charge of energy, water and sanitation told reporters that methane gas power has proven reliable, and the country seeks to generate more of it.
Rwanda relies heavily on hydro-power, which amounts to 97.37 MW of electricity, with thermal energy contributing 51.7 MW, and solar energy just about 8.5 MW, however, these are short of the country's target to enhance power production capacity to 563 MW by 2018.
The small central African nation is set to import 30 MW from Kenya on a five-year long arrangement expected later this year.
Rwanda also plans to import 400MW of power from Ethiopia by 2018, aimed at increasing electricity supply in the country, especially for industrial use.
In February last year, Rwanda unveiled a 23.7 million U.S. dollars solar power plant. The utility power located in Rwamagana district, eastern province that was developed by the Netherlands-based company Gigawatt Global, adds 8.5 MW to the national electricity grid.