Rwanda to Drill Three Geothermal Wells in 2011

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"When we confirm geothermal resources, we'll begin developing immediately."

Rwanda plans to drill three geothermal exploration wells next year at a cost of about $20 million, said Stephen Onacha, an energy expert in the Ministry of Infrastructure.

"When we confirm geothermal resources in the first well, we will begin developing it for electricity generation immediately," Onacha said in an interview on Dec. 11 from Gishenyi, western Rwanda, where geologists think the resource is located. It won't "wait to drill all other exploration wells."

Rwanda wants to expand its generating capacity to 1,000 megawatts from 85 megawatts in seven years State Minister for Energy Coleta Ruhamya told reporters on Dec. 7. That generating capacity will include 300 MW of geothermal energy, she said.

The government secured grants of $4.5 million from the World Bank's Global Environment Facility and 4 million (US$5.3 million) from the Nordic Development Fund for a renewable energy project, the Ministry of Infrastructure said on Dec. 9. The money will form a grant and credit program for electricity consumers to buy solar systems.

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