UK Firm, Clarke Energy Named Preferred Bidder for Symbion Power’s Lake Kivu Power Projects in Rwanda

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UK-based firm, Clarke Energy has been named the preferred bidder for US company, Symbion Power’s Lake Kivu power projects, which are expected to create new jobs in Rwanda.

Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.

As part of the deal, which was announced this week, Clarke Energy is to provide approximately 25 pieces of equipment dubbed ‘Jenbacher Gas Engines’ from GE, a multinational energy sector leader based in the United States.

The equipment will be used for Symbion Power’s Kivu 56 and KP1 Power Plants in Rwanda. These refer to two power projects at Lake Kivu that will increase capacity by 81 megawatts and significantly reduce the current cost of generation in Rwanda.

The two Rwanda plants will generate power from dissolved biogas from deep below Lake Kivu. The announcement coincides with a British Government trade delegation’s visit to Africa.

Clarke Energy will deliver the gas engines across the two power plants, which are located on the shores of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. The company will also create jobs in Rwanda to support the servicing of the engines.

Symbion Power is an independent power producer that has secured the rights to deliver two projects in Rwanda on Lake Kivu. The Kivu 56 project is planned to export 56 megawatts (MW) of power into the Rwandan grid under a 25-year concession. KP1 originated as an earlier pilot project, and Symbion has acquired the plant and will upgrade it from 3.6 MW to 25 MW, which will be delivered to the Rwandan grid system under a separate 25-year concession.

“After a long and rigorous competitive process, we have selected Clarke Energy, using GE’s Jenbacher gas engines, as our preferred technology provider,” said Symbion Power’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Hinks.

“These two power projects at Lake Kivu will increase capacity by 81 MW and significantly reduce the current cost of generation in Rwanda,” he continued.

Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes, is a unique body of water in the world, which at its base is saturated with biogas that is a combination of methane and carbon dioxide gases. This gas is produced by way of the unique combination of 500-meter depth, heat originating from magma under the rift valley and microbes, breaking down organic material that falls from higher in the lake. The surface of the lake is 1,460 m above sea level.

The result of continuous enhancements and extensive experience, GE’s Jenbacher Type 6 gas engines are an advanced and reliable addition to its product line. The 1,500-rpm engine speed results in a high power density with low installation costs, and its pre-combustion chamber achieves high efficiency with low emissions.

“GE’s Jenbacher gas engines will provide higher efficiency and increased capacity for Symbion Power’s projects, helping to solve the energy challenges in the region,” said Leon van Vuuren, general manager, global sales and commercial operations for GE’s Distributed Power business.

“We are delighted to have been named the preferred bidder by Symbion Power for these two key projects on the shores of Lake Kivu,” commented Clarke Energy’s Managing Director in Africa, Alan Fletcher.

“Our proposed solution is able to deliver reliable supplies of sustainable energy and support jobs in Rwanda and the United Kingdom,” he said.


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