Policy Statement

REL is committed to ensuring that the Ruzizi III Regional Hydropower Project is a sustainable development providing clean, affordable, and reliable electricity in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible, that protects health, safety, and security for REL employees and its subsidiaries and that is ethically responsible. Impacts on local environments will be avoided to the extent possible and reduced or mitigated during the construction and operation phase.

The project will make significant economic, social, and environmental contribution in the Great Lakes Region (Burundi, DRC and Rwanda). REL will aim to ensure that the people and the environment are protected from adverse impacts through actions that minimize negative influence on people and the environment and compensate for losses of production, land and assets.

REL will meet national legal requirements and good international industry practice in hydropower development and operation.

REL is committed to transparency and will consult with local communities during development and construction of the project. An Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) will be defined and made operational to ensure a systematic, predictable, and transparent approach to all Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) aspects for the Project. The ESMS will comply with the IFC Performance Standards (2012) and national legal requirements in developing, constructing, and operating the hydropower plant. All parts of the company operations will support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.

Environment

The Project is in a valley without permanent habitation and limited displacement/resettlement is anticipated. As a run of the river project there will be low impact on hydrological regime, which is regulated by the existing Ruzizi I and II power stations that control the flow released from Lake Kivu.

The reservoir will have a surface area of 46 ha and a total storage volume of about 8 Mm3. Land will be used for about 10 to 15 km of new roads and improvements to other existing roads that are provided for access to the sites and from the neighbouring towns of Kamanyola and Bugarama.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report dealing with environmental aspects of the Project is prepared in accordance with good international standards consistent with the guidelines of the World Bank Group.

REL will avoid, minimize, mitigate, and compensate for negative environmental impacts, through the implementation of the respective environmental management plans. REL will further ensure that biodiversity in the project area is maintained at no-net-loss levels through protection, rehabilitation and offset actions as deemed relevant. The ESIA has not identified any endemic or endangered fauna and flora in the project area. The project will continue environmental monitoring during construction and well into operation.

Watershed Management and Coordination

The Ruzizi III hydropower plant is the third and final site in a cascade of power stations on the Ruzizi River. Downstream from the Project the Ruzizi valley widens into an alluvial, intensively cultivated plain called the Imbo Plain or Ruzizi Plain, stretching to Bujumbura (Burundi) and Uvira (DRC) where it joins Lake Tanganyika through a marshy delta classified as a protected area (Nature Reserve) in Burundi.

REL will contribute to a harmonized and coordinated management approach of the three hydropower facilities and will monitor water quality upstream, in the reservoir and downstream and take appropriate measures to provide positive benefits for the communities and environment in the watershed.
The Project will not change the existing flow regulation of the Ruzizi River, which is controlled by the flow release through the Ruzizi I power station.

Social Impacts, Resettlement and Livelihood Improvement

There are no households in the direct project area where the power plant, the dam and reservoir are to be located. However, some households are likely to be affected by the project along the access roads and transmission lines in Kamanyola in DRC. Agricultural plots will be affected by the various project facilities including the power station, Operator’s village, access roads, dam, reservoir, and transmission line.

The project will provide compensation for losses of production, land and assets according to international standards and in consultation with the affected households. Our resettlement and livelihood restoration program aims to result in economic development for the Project Affected Persons (PAPs). Special attention will be given to vulnerable groups.

Community Development

REL is committed to improving people’s lives and developing a constructive relationship with the communities in in the Ruzizi III project area. A Community Development Plan will be developed together with project stakeholders. Neighbouring communities will be given priority in accessing the project’s benefits including construction and long term employment.

Ruzizi III Energy Limited (REL) is a special purpose vehicle that has been established and registered in Rwanda to develop the Ruzizi III Regional Hydroelectric project (Project). It is a key development project and will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the region comprising Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern DR Congo. It is the first privately financed project in sub-Saharan Africa that will utilise a common regional water resource to generate power that will be shared equally between three countries.