Small Hydropower Development in Rwanda: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges

Gasore Geoffrey1, Daniel Zimmerle2 and Etienne Ntagwirumugara1


The Rift Valley region of Sub-Saharan Africa represents a promising area for the development of small (<5MW) hydropower resources. This study compiles data from government and UN agency reports to analyze different development outlooks. The study found that there has been a rapid deployment of small hydropower in the last 10 years. From the current total deployed small hydro of 47.5 MW, 16.5MW (35%) were deployed from 1957 to 1984 while the remaining 31 MW (65%) were deployed from 2007 to 2017. While all systems constructed prior to 1985 are grid-connected, one third of the 24 facilities constructed after 2007 are connected to off-grid systems. The study provides an overview of the economic incentives for developing small hydropower systems in Rwanda and the potential contribution of that development to Rwanda's electrification goals.

IOP Publishing