Symbion Energy signs $100 million agreement for Rwanda’s methane gas generated power


By Antony Kiganda | Construction Review Online September 26, 2017

Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) has signed an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest US$100m towards the implementation of a US$370m project. The agreement signing involves a 106MW of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu.

Lake Kivu contains about 55 billion cubic meters of naturally occurring methane gas. The total power generation potential of the resource is conservatively adding up to more than 500MW over a 40-year period. However, the current production on Lake Kivu today is only 25MW.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York City Paul Hinks Symbion CEO said, “It is an excitement about our new partnership with HGHL, they are injecting US$100mn of cash equity into the Rwanda projects of Symbion Energy.

Conversely, the work commences in earnest in November 2017. The funding means we can fast track at least 22MW of power within 18 months.

“Rwanda is one of the very few countries in Africa that properly plans ahead of time. Also they understand that substantial power capacity is necessary to attract investors to create economic growth and deliver electricity to its population. The power demand in Rwanda is suppressing due to the lack of surplus capacity. The these two projects will facilitate continued growth. Besides, as far as mainland Sub-Saharan Africa is concerned. Rwanda ranks highest in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. Our experience there is a complete endorsement of that. HGHL’s confidence in the country and in Symbion is evident that their willingness to make Rwanda their first large-scale investment in Africa,” added Paul Hinks.

“This is perhaps the most interesting and exciting project that I have undertaken. Inclusive of our recent offshore wind farms in the North Sea, in Germany. “We will be producing electricity by utilizing a unique renewable resource, methane from the bottom of Lake Kivu. Delivering this will be a challenge I look forward to.” Even more important, we are generating power for one of the fastest growing countries in Africa. Thus we’ll be making a major contribution to its continued growth. As with all my colleagues I am proud to be assisting Rwanda,” said Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet, Honorable Clare Akamanzi had this to say, “This partnership is a really great example of a co-investment that will fuel our country’s sustainable development and our growth agenda. We are impressed and we are committed to support the investors and the project to attain Rwanda’s full potential in the energy sector.”

Moreover, the USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson joined Symbion at the signing, underscoring the continued partnership between Power Africa and Symbion and the importance of American companies in accelerating energy sector investment to bring power to millions of Rwandan households and businesses.

However, Symbion is working closely with the government of Rwanda and its regulatory agencies. This is to ensure that its Lake Kivu projects deliver affordable energy in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

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