The authorities in the Republic of Rwanda, eastern Africa, are looking to improve access to modern energy services through the exploitation of geothermal power associated with solar energy plants in the hope that this will promote sustainable energy for the population.
According to the Energy and Water Sanitation Authority (EWSA), Rwanda is looking to install a potential capacity of 23,328 megawatts, of which the high percentage powers will be devoted to small grid systems in several remote areas across the country where only 14 percent of the population has access to electricity.
The government also plan to increase various forms of renewable energy including solar, wind, biomass and hydro- sources by 50 per cent by 2020. There are currently a dozen hydropower stations nationwide, and several other more projects related to the use of renewable energies are undergoing across the remote areas of the country.
Power is something which the Rwandan population desperately needs, as while it is one of East Africa's fastest growing economies, with an expansion rate of 7.5 percent in 2010, increased growth is hampered by energy shortages. According to Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure Water and Energy, only 14% of the Rwandan population currently has access to electricity.
Rwanda is situated across the East African Rift Valley, one of the world's key areas for geothermal activity, and it is estimated that the geothermal potential of the East African Rift Valley is a geothermal hot-spot that spans 11 African countries at more than 15,000 megawatts, a potential that has been left largely un-exploited.