US firm Symbion Power to develop biogas project in Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has selected US firm Symbion Power as the winner of a major contract for the development of the Makelele biogas project in Lake Kivu, reported APO Group.
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 DRC is aiming 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 is intended to help strengthen the DRC’s energy sector by opening up new opportunities for power generation and sustainable development for decades to come.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) - "the voice of the African energy sector" - has congratulated the move, and said it strongly supports the DRC and its leader H.E Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga for the milestone achieved.
It recognised the development as a critical step to unlocking a new era of energy resilience and industry growth on the back of biogas development and maximisation.
“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 to unlocking new opportunities across the power generation, industrialisation 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,” stated NJ Ayuk, executive chairman of the AEC.
The DRC is seeking to attract international energy companies, investment and private sector participation to maximise energy projection. 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.
H.E Minister Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga is aiming to ensure local companies and economies benefit from energy sector growth, and the Makelele biogas initiative advancing the country's workforce development and capacity building - creating employment opportunities as well as the expansion of related industries such as manufacturing and construction.
Symbion Power also proposes to develop a regional transmission line to trade electricity from the Makelele biogas project across the region, which is good news for African countries struggling with chronic electricity shortages and high prices.
In this regard, the AEC commended 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,” concluded Ayuk.

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