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Rwanda's First Utility-Scale Solar Plant to Provide Electricity to Powerless Communities
Construction has begun on the first utility-scale solar plant in Rwanda.
Norwegian company Scatec Solar will build an 8.5-megawatt (MW) plant in Rwanda as a result of striking a 23.7 million deal with developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief and Norfund, Norway’s international development fund, according to statement from the company.
Scheduled for completion this summer, the plant will be built on the land of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village's (ASYV), a residential and educational community for youth who were orphaned during and after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
"We are very happy to be able to realize this first utility scale [photovoltaic] project in Rwanda," Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said. "Through this project, we will demonstrate that with the combined efforts of experienced partners and national authorities, solar energy is fast and cost-effective to build.”
The company reached a 25-year power purchase agreement for the solar plant with the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority in 2013.
Scatec Solar also operates the 75-MW Kalkbult solar park, which is the largest solar structure in Africa. The new plant will be located about 40 miles from Rwanda’s capital, Kigale.
The plant is part of Rwanda's plan to provide half of its population with electricity by 2017. By that time, the government hopes to increase its generation to 560 MW. It totaled just 110 MW last year.
"Generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans is important for the government of Rwanda," said Emma Francoise Isumbingabo, the country's energy and water minister. "This initiative to produce 8.5 megawatts is a good addition towards closing the current energy gap."
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Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.
Madagascar has embarked on its most ambitious tree-planting drive yet, aiming to plant 60 million trees in the coming months. The island nation celebrates 60 years of independence this year, and the start of the planting campaign on Jan. 19 marked one year since the inauguration of President Andry Rajoelina, who has promised to restore Madagascar's lost forests.