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Help to utilise wind resource
1 October 2008
The central African state of Rwanda, one of the world's poorest countries, is looking to harness wind power as part of a raft of measures to reduce its energy bills, increase production and diversify the resource. As part of its energy strategy, the government invited bids, to be submitted October 1, from international companies to assess the country's wind energy potential. The initiative is supported and funded by Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC). The project includes producing a wind atlas, evaluating the nominal capacity of selected areas and identifying five potential sites for either grid-connected or isolated units. Rwanda has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world. Less than 5% of the population has access to electricity and most of these live in the capital, Kigali. The rest mostly rely on biomass in the form of firewood, leading to rapid deforestation and loss of biodiversity. The country's total generation capacity amounts to a mere 41.31 MW from hydro and thermal facilities, with another 15.5 MW imported from neighbouring countries. Even so, Rwanda's total export earnings are not sufficient to cover the cost of its fuel imports alone.
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