Rwanda complete 2.2-MW Rukarara 2 small hydropower project

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Rwanda officials are hoping a recently completed 2.2-MW Runkarara 2 small hydropower station will help improve the lives of residents in the country's rural Nyamagabe district.

Work on the US$13.12 million dollar plant began in 2011, with funding provided by the Rwanda government, Belgian Technical Cooperation and European Union.

The project is fully automated and controlled remotely, officials said, and will provide power to the area after transmission lines are completed.

Currently, only about 18% of Rwanda's population is connected to the country's national grid, though the government is hoping to cover at least 70% within the next two years.

"We recognize the importance of energy in economic development, Minister for Infrastructure Silas Lwakabamba said. "Electricity has proven to stimulate the small and medium enterprise that helps transform peoples' lives."

Runkarara 2 is an addition to the 6-MW Rukarara 1, which was completed in 2011. Rwanda's Ministry of Infrastructure used a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) in 2007 to hire a technical advisor for the project, which was at that time projected to have an output capacity of 9 MW.

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