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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Building local capacities to monitor methane extraction in Lake Kivu
Editor:Pasche, Natacha
Year:2015
Periodical:Sustainable access to energy in the Global South: essential technologies and implementation approaches
Pages:235-244
Language:English
Geographic terms:Rwanda
Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:energy resources
capacity building
lakes
evaluation
hydrocarbon policy
Link:https://www.asclibrary.nl/docs/397247974.pdf
Abstract:Lake Kivu is a large tropical lake situated in Africa between Rwanda and Congo. This unique lake contains an enormous quantity of dissolved methane and carbon dioxide. Their sudden release could have catastrophic consequences for the two million inhabitants of its riparian areas. To avoid such a risk, the Rwandan and Congolese governments have decided to extract the methane. Methane extraction will produce as much as 500-800 MW of energy over the next 50 years. Then, the extraction will be reduced to match the natural rate of methane replenishment, transforming it into a renewable source of energy. This innovative win-win technology is essential for the development of Rwanda that is currently producing 100 MW of energy and where only 16 % of the population has access to electricity. In 2008, the first pilot plant started to extract and burn methane, generating *1.3 MW. To accompany this technological success, the Government of Rwanda created the Lake Kivu Monitoring Program (LKMP) to ensure its safe and environmental friendly exploitation. This team is monitoring the main risks associated with methane extraction, namely the alteration of the lake stability and the potential deterioration of the lake ecosystem. LKMP was financially supported by North-South cooperation through two successive capacity building projects. For four years, an international expert trained five Rwandan technicians to become autonomous and set up a laboratory for nutrients, gases, and biological analyses. This local team learned to detect potential impacts on the lake ecology and on the safety of the population. Although knowledge transfer and practical experiences were successful, the outcome remains fragile and the local team still needs to be reinforced. At the regulatory level, the institutional framework remained weak, and the laws for extraction still need to be enforced. In the future, these challenges should be addressed to ensure adequate monitoring with strong local capacities. [book abstract]
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