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US company to develop DRC biogas

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Lake Kivu when we flew over it a few years ago. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

US company to develop DRC biogas 

American engineering and construction company Symbion Power has won the tender to develop the Makelele biogas project in Lake Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  

The DRC is seeking to boost energy market stability to address access and affordability issues while supporting economic growth. According to Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, the DRC Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, the project will include more than USD300-million in investment for the development of a 60 MW gas-to-electricity system, which will connect consumers in the city of Goma and in the North and South Kivu provinces via existing trading hubs.

According to NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC) Makelele is a critical step in unlocking a new era of energy resilience and industry growth on the back of biogas development and exploitation.

Kivu’s gas potential relatively high (US company to develop DRCs biogas)

With the DRC aiming to increase energy access from current levels of 10% to approximately 32% by 2030, the Makelele biogas project will play a crucial role in helping the country to realise its electrification goals.

With Lake Kivu’s biogas potential relatively high – estimated at approximately 700MW of electricity over a period of 50 years – the Makelele biogas initiative will help strengthen the DRC’s energy sector by opening up new opportunities for power generation and sustainable development for decades to come.

“At the AEC, we believe that gas is the future for Africa. Representing both a clean and widely available energy resources, gas will be key for unlocking new opportunities across the power generation, industrialisation and broader economic space.

“This project represents just the start of the DRC’s gas journey and we are looking forward to a suite of new opportunities to be launched as a result,” says Ayuk.

Private sector participation to drive energy production (US company to develop DRCs biogas) 

With the DRC seeking to attract international energy companies, drive investment and private sector participation to maximise energy production, the Makelele biogas development is a step in the right direction regarding DRC-global partnerships, and is set to capitlise on the country’s largely untapped energy potential while serving as a blueprint for the DRC’s biogas industry.

Minister Ntubuanga is prioritising capacity development to ensure local companies and economies benefit from the energy sector’s growth.

What’s more, with the southern and central African regions continuing to struggle with chronic electricity shortages and high prices, Symbion Power’s proposal to develop a regional transmission line to trade electricity from the Makelele biogas project across the region represents good news for African countries.

Ayuk says Makelele is set to play a major role in opening up Africa’s wider power market as nations move to overcome energy poverty by 2030.

“The DRC is seeking to boost energy market stability to address access and affordability issues while supporting economic growth. The AEC believes that gas holds the ticket for the country to achieve energy security. We commend H.E Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga’s move to drive biogas industry development to meet both the country and region’s energy demand growth,” says Ayuk.

US company to develop DRC biogas

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