Symbion Power, Highland Group sign $100m Deal to Extract more Methane Gas

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 By Dan Ngabonziza

Symbion Power, Highland Group sign $10m Deal to Extract more Methane Gas

Symbion Energy – an America firm has signed a $100 million deal with Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) – another energy firm with presence in Germany, to co-invest in extraction of Methane gas in Rwanda’s Lake Kivu.

Announcing the signing in New York, Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion said the two firms seek to implement a $370 million project to generate 106 megawatts of methane gas from Lake Kivu.

Symbion power already supplied 26MW of power from Lake Kivu to the national grid. Lake Kivu contains an estimated 55 billion cubic meters of naturally occurring methane gas.

The total power generation potential of the resource has been conservatively estimated at more than 500 MW over a 40-year period.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hinks said, “We are very excited about our new partnership with HGHL, they are injecting $100 million of cash equity into the Rwanda projects of Symbion Energy.”

According to Hinks, the work will begin in November this year.

“This funding means we can fast track at least 22MW of power within 18 months.  Roughly 8 to 10 MW of that can be available by mid-2018 from the existing plant we acquired in 2016 which is known as KP1. It will be rehabilitated and expanded,” Hink said.

He added: “Rwanda is one of the very few countries in Africa that properly plans ahead of time and they understand that substantial power capacity is necessary to attract investors to create economic growth and deliver electricity to its population.”

As far as mainland Sub-Saharan Africa is concerned, said Hink, Rwanda ranks highest in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index and “our experience there is a complete endorsement of that.”

He said that HGHL’s confidence in the country and in Symbion is evidenced by their willingness to make Rwanda their first large-scale investment in Africa.

Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL, said that the project is “the most interesting and exciting project that I have undertaken, another one being a 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,” he said.

“Even more important, we are generating power for one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, so we’ll be making a major contribution to its continued growth.  As with all my colleagues I am proud to be assisting Rwanda,” said Laidlaw.

Rwanda badly needs 563MW of electricity before end of next year. Various energy projects such as peat, renewable energy and solar have been successful – bringing the current power to over 200MW on the national grid.

Claire Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board said the signing is a huge boost to the country’s growth agenda.

“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 energy,” she said.
The two power projects will reduce the risk of gases that are trapped in the deep layers of the lake escaping and rising to the surface, endangering the surrounding communities.

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

Highland Group Holdings Ltd has successfully invested in and developed the Deutsche Bucht (252MW) and Veja Mate (400MW) offshore wind energy projects in Germany.




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