About $50-billion a year worth of energy could potentially be generated at Lake Kivu, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, if the resources there could be unlocked.
Lake Kivu project promoter Phillip Morkel told delegates at an Africa investment summit in Johannesburg on Friday, that about 1 000 MW of electricity could be generated from the lake's resources over the next 50 years.
Thereafter, power generation could continue at about 200 MW.
The Ruzizi river, into which Lake Kivu empties, could generate a further 500 MW of hydropower.
While the lake was smaller than many other lakes in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, it was 500 m deep. It held around two-trillion cubic feet of methane resources and ten-trillion feet of carbon dioxide resources.
This was a significant gasfield that remained underdeveloped, said Morkel.
He noted that it currently cost about $0,36/kWh to produce electricity in Rwanda. If electricity generation projects along the lake came to fruition, the costs would be significantly lower at $0,10/kWh. Production costs could be reduced further to $0,07/kWh if carbon credit funding was realised.
Such projects could potentially provide electricity to between 40% and 60% of the population in the surrounding communities.
However, in order to unlock the potential of this lake, an infrastructure investment of about $3-billion would be required. A further $2-billion would also need to be invested on developing the lake.