Energy ministry shifts focus to nuclear energy

NAIVASHA, KENYA: The country is targeting 2,600mw from nuclear energy come 2033 as one way of meeting increased power demands.
According to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the country will have an installed power capacity of 24,674mw by then.
Geothermal power has been identified as the pillar project for the project which will see Kenya turn into an exporter of electricity.
Of the project capacity, geothermal will be leading with 7,264mw which will account for 29.4 percent with coal following at 5,400mw (21.9 percent).
According to ERC director in charge of economic regulation Dr John Mutua, the country was slowly shifting from hydro to geothermal which is reliable and sustainable.
"We project that come 2033 we shall have 2,600mw from Nuclear energy, 3,960mw from gas turbines and 2,180mw from wind," he said.
On fuel prices, the commission noted that Kenya was one of the countries with cheapest prices in the region despite the World Bank report that consumers were paying Sh15 more.
Mutua noted that consumers in Australia were paying Sh42 per litre of petrol, US Sh43, Malaysia Sh51, Kenya Sh81 with Ugandans paying Sh106.
"A study done recently indicated that Kenyans has fair petrol prices compared to countries like Denmark where motorists pay Sh158 per litre, Germany Sh 138 and UK Sh154," he said.
This emerged at the end of a one day media training workshop organised by the commission at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.
The commission director in charge of renewable energy Pavel Oimeke expressed his concern over the country's plan to construct a nuclear plant.
He noted that in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan it had become expensive and demanding to construct a nuclear plant.
"We have doubts over the sustainability of a nuclear plant in the country especially after what happened in Fukushima in Japan," he said.
Oimemke at the same time expressed the commission concern over the high levels of air pollution in the country.
He noted that in the US four percent of deaths reported were caused by air pollution noting that the cases could be higher in Kenya.
"We are deeply concerned by an increase in air and indoor pollution in the country mainly from Industries," he said.