Symbion Power announces low-cost mini-hydro pilot in Rwanda

Symbion Power announces low-cost mini-hydro pilot in Rwanda

Symbion Power, one of the largest United States investors in power sector in Africa announces low-cost, mini-hydro pilot in Rwanda and geothermal plant in Kenya during U.S. ‘Prosper Africa’ Rollout in Maputo, Mozambique today.

The firm says it is proud to announce two keystone investments in Africa in conjunction with the rollout of the U.S. Government’s ‘Prosper Africa’ initiative today at the Corporate Council on Africa’s 2019 U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Maputo, Mozambique.

This is a collaboration between two U.S. companies, New York based Symbion Power and San Francisco based Natel Energy which will pilot a new off-grid, low-head, low-cost renewable, mini-hydro platform called MyHydro in Rwanda.

The two firms intend to implement MyHydro across Sub Saharan Africa where they will sell low cost electricity to underserved communities.

Symbion Power also announced a new investment with Vital Capital, an impact investment fund, to build, own and operate a 35MW geothermal plant in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

The firm says that the project will be financed with shareholders equity and debt financing from TDB Bank, an African based Development Finance Institution.

Both investments promise to supply much-needed electricity to power economic growth as well as create hundreds of new jobs in the US and Africa.

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The Prosper Africa initiative seeks to open markets for American businesses, grow Africa’s middle class, promote youth employment opportunities and improve the business climate, to offer support to U.S. companies for the development of closer economic ties with Africa.

Symbion’s focus has always been on the transfer of skills and creating mutually beneficial opportunities in building power infrastructure in Africa.

It notes that lack of reliable, non-intermittent and affordable supply of electricity threatens the developmental goals of the African continent.

“MyHydro is a new low-cost, mini-grid platform that combines proven engineering with innovative American technology. Focused on rural communities, MyHydro will provide affordable, renewable energy where it is needed most.

According to the firm, MyHydro aims to deploy a minimum of 150 installations of distributed mini-hydro generation capacity units and associated mini-grids in Africa by 2025, serving approximately 1 million people.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that so many people in rural Africa still don’t have electricity connections and the ability to undertake industrial activities”, said Paul Hinks, Chief Executive Officer, Symbion Power.  

So today we’re renewing our commitment to implement both on-grid and off-grid power solutions that are very low cost and affordable.

Kenya’s geothermal resources are enormous, and this type of energy provides continuous electricity supply at a cost of 7 cents per kWh.Symbion Power announces low-cost mini-hydro pilot in Rwanda

MyHydro is a new platform we are launching that will also provide low cost power to towns and villages that have no electricity supply at the moment.

MyHydro can be easily integrated into the national grid system in the future.”

Mr. Hinks continued, “Neither geothermal power nor off-grid mini-hydro are new. But a platform like MyHydro, incorporating new American turbine technology and widespread market coverage in Africa, will be a powerful addition to the many other players in the off-grid sector.”

Abe Schneider, CTO and President of Natel Energy, stated, “We are thrilled to partner with Symbion Power to bring sustainable hydropower to Africa.

Natel’s mission is to unlock new, distributed, sustainable and reliable hydropower at scale by reducing total installed cost while improving environmental performance.

“Our fish friendly Restoration Hydro Turbine delivers high performance, safe fish passage and reduced installed cost.

Our digital platform for site screening and flow forecasting reduces development time and cost and will provide the water intelligence for the MyHydro platform to optimize operations.

This also paves the way to enable MyHydro to be integrated into the national grid systems in the future.

We are excited to work with the Rwandan Government, RDB, and REG on our first pilot project and thank the Rwandan Government for its initial support and hope to have an enduring relationship built on success.”

Symbion is working in close collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) for the development of the pilot project.

Since 2014 it has invested in 1,378 MW of installed generating capacity in Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Madagascar.

Symbion Power announces low-cost mini-hydro pilot in Rwanda

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