Bioenergy options for Rwanda discussed at a multi stakeholder workshop


Kigali, Rwanda - In Rwanda, sustainable energy alternatives need to be identified.  Bioenergy, energy sourced from biomass, could be considered as part of a renewable energy mix but which options are viable in the context of Rwanda?  How do biomass targets match agriculture and environmental targets?

Under the guidance of the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), key stakeholders convened on 4 October 2017 to discuss the status of bioenergy development in Rwanda, the new biomass targets set within the National Transformation Strategy published in September 2017 and next steps in the development process. 

The Ministries of Infrastructure and Energy, Agriculture, Forestry and Environment presented an overview of the context of the relevant sectors and the countries commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Access to reliable and affordable energy is fundamental in achieving economic development, and poverty reduction. However, depending on the type of energy used, it can also significantly contribute to climate change.

Though the country has committed to ensuring universal energy access by 2030, Rwanda’s access to energy is still very limited. Most of the energy used is supplied by biomass sources, whilst the rest comes from imported fossils fuels and hydropower.

Current bioenergy use patterns are unsustainable and the forecasted impacts on forest resources are dramatic. Alternatives urgently need to be found. During the workshop discussions, it became apparent that in Rwanda, there are constraints in terms of biomass availability for energy generation.

FAO, in the context of its Energy-Smart Food programme, has been supporting countries to enhance energy access options, integrate the energy and agriculture sectors and develop sustainable bioenergy solutions.

More specifically, through the Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) Approach, FAO supports countries in the formulation of bioenergy policy to establish which sustainable bioenergy options are possible in the country. The approach strives to ensure that rigorous country level assessments underpin the bioenergy formulation process.

A small but vibrant private sector exists in relation to biomass and bioenergy projects. More support and clarity in this area could support further private sector growth. The workshop was instrumental in showing existing gaps in understanding the country’s potential to develop sustainable bioenergy.

FAO will support MININFRA and key stakeholders through the BEFS Approach to assess what sustainable bioenergy options exist in Rwanda. The work will be coordinated through the biomass technical working group, an active stakeholder platform related to biomass.  

Through its Sustainable Food and Agriculture programme, FAO supports the Government of Rwanda in enhancing the coherence of its policies in addressing multi-sector, multi-objective development issues.