Rwanda launches first peat-fired power plant in Africa

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Rwanda launches first peat-fired power plant in Africa

Rwandans are likely to begin benefiting from more power from their national grid following the latest opening of a new peat-fired power plant in Gishoma, western Rwanda, which is the first of its kind in Africa.

The project, which is said to be valued US $39.2 million, is estimated to begin feeding at least 15 megawatts of power in to the national grid directly.

Another key peat-fired plant, which costs US $350 million, is already under construction in Gisagara, eastern Rwanda, with the Rwandan government expecting it to generate an additional 80MW by 2019.

Presently, Rwanda produces 190MW of electricity, which is accessed by merely 25 percent of homes in the nation.

But the government of Rwanda is working on improving these figures by linking 70 percent of the populace to the national grid by 2018.

Some critics are doubtful about the plan; the government is putting its optimism on the two peat-fired power plants to make it an actuality. It also wishes to boost its whole power generation from the present 190MW to 563MW in line with the national development goals.

Rwanda makes its power from an assortment of renewable sources, namely hydropower, thermal, and methane, even as the government look into the leeway of generating off-grid power from solar in the near future.

The Gishoma power plant is situated right in the middle of Nyungwe Forest National Park, which scientists argue is an untouched natural rainforest that is overflowing with exhilarating biodiversity.

The park is residence to a broad range of trees and orchids, as well as the swamp-dwelling Eulophia horsfellii.

The nation also shares its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where scientists lately discovered around 145,500 sq kilometers of peat swamp forest in the central Congo Basin.

The majority of Rwandans is positive about the two peat-fired power generation plants and trusts to begin enjoying a low-cost power supply soon.

Nevertheless, critics have questioned the sustainability of the projects since it takes thousands of years to build up centimeters of peat.

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