A new high voltage 188 MVA substation and its related transmission network has been inaugurated in the Rwanda capital Kigali.

The Shango substation is part of the NELSAP Regional Interconnection Project involving Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and Burundi.

The Rwandan component, at an estimated cost of $123m, involves the construction of 286 km of 220 kV lines, three substations and the upgrade of two substations. The African Development Fund, part of the African Development Bank Group, contributed $42m of the total project cost.

The Shango substation is the biggest substation in the country and has been designed to play a key role in the management of electricity dispatching services in Rwanda and a routing node for electricity trading between the East African neighbours.

Speaking at the inauguration, Martha Phiri, the African Development Bank’s Rwanda manager, said the Shango substation and its network will facilitate the country’s access to excess power of nearly 1040 MW from the regional market, reducing its reliance on expensive fossil-fuel generated power.

“This would eventually benefit the people and industries in Rwanda through increased availability, reliability of clean power and possible reduction in electricity tariffs,” she added.

Rwanda is pursuing an ambitious target to achieve affordable, reliable and universal access to electricity by 2024 in line with its government’s National Strategy for Transformation.

She explained that the African Development Bank’s strategy for Rwanda has two pillars: to invest in energy and water infrastructure to enable inclusive and green growth, and to develop skills to promote high value-added economic activities and economic transformation.