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The Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), under the leadership of Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, has selected US 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 US$300mn 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) supports the DRC and Budimbu Ntubuanga for the milestone achieved, recognising 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 realise 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.

With the DRC seeking to attract international energy companies, drive investment and private sector participation to maximise energy production, the Makelele biogas development is a step in the right direction regarding DRC-global partnerships, and is set to capitalise on the country’s largely untapped energy potential while serving as a blueprint for the DRC’s biogas industry. On the local content front, Budimbu Ntubuanga is prioritising 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, recognising 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,” said NJ Ayuk, executive chairman of the AEC.