“Our message is that ‘we have arrived in Rwanda’,” says Symbion Power CEO Paul Hinks, “Symbion is one of the leading partners in President Obama’s Power Africa initiative which will double access to electricity in Sub Saharan Africa.”
Symbion Power was recently awarded a 50 megawatt Independent Power Production (IPP) project using methane gas from Lake Kivu by the Rwanda Energy Group (REG). The company is also the diamond sponsor at the upcoming iPAD Rwanda Power & Infrastructure Investment Forum in Kigali from 3-4 November.
Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, the Hon. James Musoni, heads up a high-level government contingent that will address the inaugural iPAD Rwanda Forum, gathering investors, project developers, finance houses, construction and planning companies, technology providers from Rwanda, the region and from the rest of the world.
Late Kivu project
Symbion Power’s Paul Hinks describes the company’s selection for the next gas to power concession on Lake Kivu as “a very important step for us. We’ve been targeting a long-term investment in Rwanda for several years and this is our first success. The project is interesting as we will be extracting methane gas at depths of around 1,000 feet in the lake, using it to generate much needed electricity. It is not the first project of its kind, but it is the largest so far.”
According to Mr Hinks the engineering work and further studies for the project will take about four months “and following this, we will enter into a Power Purchase Agreement. After that we will begin the site work. The first phase, for 14MW, will come on line approximately 15 months later. We’ll be increasing the output progressively until we reach the full 50MW, and we hope to expand the plant after that.”
Africa an exciting place to be
“If you are in the energy space, Africa is an exciting place to be at the moment,” says the Symbion Power CEO. “We have a number of new investments in the East Africa region that are currently in our deal pipeline. These include a geothermal power plant in Kenya and a 600MW gas fired power plant and transmission line in Tanzania. We are also active in West Africa and in Southern Africa.”
His message to other potential US investors in the power sector is that “they need to invest the time and effort that is needed to better understand the emerging opportunities in the power sector in this region. It is important to identify the right companies to partner with to help mitigate risks.”
He adds: “frankly speaking we need to move away from talking about Africa and we need to start talking about individual countries. There are 54 of them and they each have their own identity, their own culture and their own set of risks. Rwanda is one of the best examples on the entire continent of a country that has had incredible leadership and has warmed itself to the investor community.”
The iPAD Rwanda Power & Infrastructure Investment Forum enjoys the official support of the Rwandan government, the Rwanda Development Board and the country’s electricity utility, the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) is the host utility of the event.
The event is organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. The company recently ventured in a project involving building a 100MW power plant in Ghana.