U.S.-based Symbion Power has been awarded the Makelele biogas block on Lake Kivu in the DRC, a move recognized as a step in the right direction for the country’s power sector
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, January 16, 2023/ — The Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), under the leadership of H.E. Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, has selected U.S. power engineering and construction firm, Symbion Power, as the winner of a tender for the development of the Makelele biogas project in Lake Kivu in the eastern part of the country. The project will include over $300 million in investment for the development of a 60 MW gas-to-electricity system to connect consumers in Goma and the North and South of Kivu provinces via existing trading hubs.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC), as the voice of the African energy sector, congratulates and strongly supports the DRC and H.E Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga for the milestone achieved, recognizing this development as a critical step to unlocking a new era of energy resilience and industry growth on the back of biogas development and exploitation.
With the DRC targeting 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 realize its electrification goals. With Lake Kivu’s biogas potential relatively high – estimated at approximately 700 MW 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, industrialization 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,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.
With the DRC seeking to attract international energy companies, drive investment and private sector participation to maximize energy production, the Makelele biogas development is a step in the right direction regarding DRC-global partnerships, and is set to capitalize on the country’s largely untapped energy potential while serving as a blueprint for the DRC’s biogas industry. On the local content front, H.E. Minister Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga is prioritizing capacity development to ensure local companies and economies benefit from energy sector growth, with the Makelele biogas initiative advancing the country’s workforce development and capacity building further by creating new opportunities for employment as well as the expansion of related industries such as manufacturing and construction.
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. In this regard, the AEC commends Symbion and the DRC government, recognizing the role this project is set to play in opening up Africa’s wider power market as nations move to make energy poverty history by 2030.
“The DRC is seeking to boost energy market stability to address access and affordability issues while supporting economic growth. The Chamber 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,” concluded Ayuk.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.