Rwanda Mountain Tea Giciye Hydro Power


Rwanda Mountain Tea ltd. is an investor in tea plantations and tea processing facilities. RMT started its tea operations in 2007, with the rehabilitation of two tea factories Rubaya and Nyabihu. The rehabilitation of Nyabihu tea factory has been financed through several BIO loans; read more on BIO’s investment in the Nyabihu tea factory here.

As part of its overall strategy RMT took steps to increase tea production with the planting of new land and through encouraging villagers to expand their planted areas. This increased production necessitated an increase in factory capacity, in turn entailing additional energy costs. As energy is a major price factor in the manufacturing process, RMT was looking for ways to reduce its power bill. Since the Nyabihu and Rubaya plantations border the Gishwati forests, the source of the Giciye River, and several streams flow through the plantations, thought was given to tapping this water for producing clean energy. Development of the Giciye hydropower project was considered a worthwhile way of achieving both the RMT’s and national objectives. With assistance from GTIEA (Greening the Tea Industry in East Africa), a small hydropower initiative supported by the GEF (Global Environmental Facility) and executed by the EATTA (East African Tea Trade Association), a feasibility study was conducted that confirmed the project’s economic viability.

The Giciye hydropower plant (currently under construction) will have an installed capacity of 4 MW, greatly boosting Rwanda’s currently installed energy capacity of 85 MW. Its projected annual output is 16 million kWh, thereby avoiding an annual 12,000 tons of carbon emissions. The generated power will be supplied to the nearby national grid at an agreed price per unit, and will consequently benefit the local population and enterprises.  Currently, less than 10% of Rwandan households have access to electricity and electricity consumption per capita is among the lowest and Kwh prices are amongst the highest in the world.  The power used by the RMT tea factories will be billed by the national energy company to RMT at a lower than normal rate taking the hydro project into account.

The Government of Rwanda has been very supportive of the project, facilitating the granting of permits from the different agencies and providing assistance in the construction of the transmission line and site access road.

Construction commenced in March 2012 and energy production is expected to start in May 2014. RMT intends to develop a second hydropower project a few kilometers downstream of the present site, following completion of a feasibility study.

The rehabilitation of Nyabihu tea factory has been financed through several BIO loans; read more on BIO’s investment in the Nyabihu tea factory here. BIO also subsidised a technical assistance project to supervise the tendering phase and construction of the hydropower plant.

Website of Rwanda Mountain Tea:

  • Investment amount (€):

    € 2 M

    Construction of hydro power plant

  • Contract signature :


  • Nature of intervention :


  • Development impacts :

    • 1 — Renewable energy production in a country with substantial undersupply
    • 2 — Reduce use of wood for energy production

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