Confusion reigns over Kenya’s actual electricity generation capacity

World Bank says Kenya has an installed generating capacity of 2,370 MW and peak demand of about 1,770MW. [File, Standard]
The raging debate on Kenya’s electricity capacity came to the fore recently over a debate on whether to electrify the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

According to data from the Ministry of Energy, Kenya currently has a power generation capacity of 2,250 megawatts (MW) against a demand of 1,640MW which is enough to power the SGR.

While on a tour of the soon-to-be-completed Menengai Geothermal Power plant in Nakuru, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter reaffirmed these figures, saying when the thermal power plant is finally completed, it will produce 465MW of power.

When this power is eventually injected into the national grid, the country will have a capacity of 2,715MW

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“This is why we need financiers such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) to get this project going. Kenya Electricity Transmission (Ketraco) has already set up a transmission line which is just waiting to evacuate the power to the national grid,” Keter said.

“GDC (Geothermal Development Company) is about to finish the drilling of the thermal from the ground and collecting the steam through a system of piping. All we are waiting for is for the three Independent power producers to hit the ground and put up the power plants.”

While the data from the Government is clearly stated out, other sources of the country’s energy data take a different view. According to energypedia, the online site for energy data, Kenya’s current effective installed (grid connected) electricity capacity is 1,429MW.

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Energypedia explains that electricity supply in Kenya is predominantly sourced from hydro and fossil fuel (thermal) sources.

“This generation energy mix comprises 52.1 per cent from hydro, 32.5 per cent from fossil fuels, 13.2 per cent from geothermal, 1.8 per cent from biogas co-generation and 0.4 per cent from wind, respectively,” says the site.

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“Current electricity demand is 1,600MW and is projected to grow to 2,600-3600MW by 2020.”

The World Bank explains that Kenya has an installed generating capacity of 2,370 MW and peak demand of about 1,770MW.

KenGen, which is 70 per cent owned by the Government, has an installed capacity of 1,631MW.

Demand for electricity is growing at about eight per cent a year, according to the World Bank’s data.

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