The Government of Rwanda (GoR) is striving towards universal electricity access by 2024 – and has made considerable progress towards that. Electricity access has increased from 19% in 2014 to more than 75% in 2022. EnDev Rwanda, active since 2009, has contributed to the
government’s endeavours on energy access through innovative approaches to support the development of new markets.
Technologies used in this project
- Hydro mini-grids
- Improved cookstoves
- Stand-alone systems
- People with access to electricity: 355,984*
- People with access to modern cooking energy: 63,231*
- *Achievements until December 2021
EnDev Rwanda facilitated the development of four micro hydro power (MHPP) plants, has implemented two results-based financing (RBF) projects for decentralised energy solutions and, in 2020, launched the project “Reducing climate impact of cooking in Rwanda through improved cooking energy systems” (ReCIC). In addition, it supports several authorities in the country in establishing a suitable regulatory energy framework. Until 2011, EnDev Rwanda was also active in the biogas sector. More recently, EnDev has piloted approaches to supporting productive use of energy (PUE) including launching the first solar cold-storage-as-a-service pilot in Rwanda.
Development of a private on-grid hydro sector
EnDev is implementing the project “Private Sector Participation in Micro-hydro Power Supply for Rural Development” (PSP Hydro). Supported by the project, the first privately-owned micro hydropower plant in Rwanda started feeding into the national grid (96 kW) in 2010, followed by three further projects. Three hydro power plants are still under construction and will add a total of 2 MW to the national grid.
Sector development through results-based financing
In 2014, EnDev Rwanda started to provide support to private solar companies and mini-grid developers through results-based financing, supported by UK Aid. The key objective of the two RBF programmes was to boost energy access markets through private sector-led development. Through the RBF programmes, EnDev has contributed to positioning off-grid renewable energy technologies as a means to achieving universal energy access in Rwanda. Following the significant impact of the solar program, EnDev Rwanda launched the Pro-Poor RBF, supported by USAID, a market-based alternative to reach low-income households with solar products. In 2021, the GoR took up the Pro-Poor RBF and scaled it up to a 30 million nation-wide programme. The Village Grid RBF helped raise the profile of the mini-grid sector. A new mini-grid RBF programme was launched in early 2022, integrating lessons learned from the previous programme.
Climate change mitigation in the cooking sector
The GoR, through its Biomass Energy Strategy (BEST) seeks to reduce the share of households using inefficient cooking solutions from 83.3% (2014) to 42% by 2024. To date, nearly 70% of the population continues to use three-stones and traditional stoves for cooking. EnDev’s ReCIC project, cofinanced by the European Union under the GCCA+ initiative, aims to address this challenge by supporting the sustainable production and dissemination of improved cookstoves (ICS) and alternative fuels. Moreover, EnDev is working with the GoR in strengthening the regulatory framework, the testing capacities and overall sector coordination to improve the existing market conditions. In 2021, EnDev advised the GoR in developing a Clean Cooking Compact and recruited an international expert to support the cooking team within the Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL).
Productive use of energy as a new focus
EnDev Rwanda initially identified productive use of energy (PUE) as a strategic intervention area complementary to the ongoing mini-grid development. The AVSI-implemented PUE program (01/2020-07/2022) supported entrepreneurs (39% female) over six mini-grid sites, which received entrepreneurship training. Supported businesses range from carpenters to tailors and barbers as well as providers of digital services. The entrepreneurs were able to purchase appliances through a matching grant scheme.
To expand its PUE activities, EnDev Rwanda acquired funding from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) Innovation Fund. The new project titled “Cold Storage as a Service” pilots an innovative solar-powered cold storage technology and business model in cooperation with a private sector partner at local market sites in Rwanda. The first walk-in cold rooms were installed at the end of 2022.
For more information on the energy situation in Rwanda see energypedia.