Evaluation of Rwanda’s Energy Resources

Natanael Favero Bolson, Tadeusz Patzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Energy flows in a fertile environment drive societal development and progress. To develop a country sustainably, striking balance between environmental management, natural resource use, and energy generation is a must. However, developing a country with limited access to energy and critical levels of environmental depletion is challenging. This description fits Rwanda, which faces a dual crisis of energy supply shortages and environment depletion. Overpopulation is driving urban and agricultural expansion which in turn unbalance biomass demand to supply the growing energy needs and exacerbate environmental damage. Just when urgent actions must be taken to overcome this current debacle, political aspirations seek to turn Rwanda into a middle- and subsequently high-income country. From our analysis, the available energy resources can only maintain current population in Rwanda as a low-income country. To become an average middle-income country, Rwanda needs an equivalent of 3 Mtoe /yr (≈20 Mbbl /yr) of oil imports, and must install a nominal capacity of 90 GW of solar photovoltaics (PV). For a high-income country, it is necessary to obtain an extra power input of 11.4Mtoe /yr (≈77 Mbbl /yr) of oil imports and to install a nominal capacity of 400 GW of solar PV. Comparing current power generation capacity in Rwanda against the extra power needed to achieve the middle-income and high-income status indicates a mismatch between available resources and developmental goals.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6440
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 25 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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