Geothermal energy is a clean and reliable source of energy, which is not affected by short-term fluctuations in the weather or world producer prices of oil. Most of the geothermal plants when installed have relatively very low maintenance costs and high availability. Geothermal energy is not dependent on whether it is day or night as solar energy is, or whether the wind blows strongly or not.
In Rwanda, two zones with geothermal potentials are found in the western region associated with volcanoes and the southern region (Bugarama) associated with faults in the East African Rift. Based on reconnaissance surface studies, the western region has been divided into three areas of Gisenyi, Karisimbi and Kinigi prospects that can be developed as separate geothermal prospects.
According to surface studies, the most promising of which are Karisimbi and Kinigi where it is likely GoR will discover a commercially viable geothermal resource for power generation using either binary or condensing steam turbines.
With extensive exploration and appraisal drilling geothermal can contribute more than 20 MW in short term and over 300 MW in the long term. The exact size of the resource is not yet proven. This will only be determined once exploratory drilling completed and once established the low costs of Geothermal and its high availability makes it the cheapest form of generation available.
It is evident from available information that Rwanda has areas that have low-temperature geothermal resources that can also be utilized for both power generation and direct industrial uses.
We have given the development of our Geothermal Resources the highest priority over EDPRS II period and among envisaged developments we will have:
· 10 MW from Test Generation site at Kinigi
· 10 MW from Test Generation site at Karisimbi
· 50 MW of production scale generation at Kinigi / Karisimbi