Renewable power sources drive generation by 31pc in three years

Windmills on a power generation plant.

The amount of installed power generation capacity in the country has increased by 31.7 per cent to 2,894MW as of June 2021 from 2,265MW in 2017. This is according to the Energy Ministry, which has attributed it to investments in alternative power sources by public and private players.

Principal Secretary Major General (Rtd) Dr Gordon Kihalangwa said this in Nakuru when he launched the drafting of the energy sub-sector’s fourth Medium Term Plan (MTP IV 2023-2027).

“This development was supported by geothermal and wind power expansion programmes. These have been undertaken by both the private sector and the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen),” Dr Kihalangwa said.

The PS said the geothermal source had remained the leading contributor to power supply in the national grid while thermal sources currently contribute the least.

“Geothermal energy accounts for 44.12 per cent, hydropower 26.98 per cent and thermal energy slightly below 13 per cent. This is in contrast to 2014 when the share of thermal was at a high of 34.49 per cent due to erratic rains that reduced hydropower sources,” Dr Kihalangwa said.

He said the government and development partners would continue to increase investment towards green energy as a way of safeguarding the environment from harmful emissions.

Ronald Ouma displays the briquettes made at Kericho Renewable Energy center using discarded charcoal waste.

 

“We intend to diversify renewable electricity supply in the country. In addition to increasing supply, we are seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-based alternatives,” said Dr Kihalangwa.

He said the 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Power plant under development would be the largest of its kind in Africa, in addition to KenGen’s Ngong Hills wind power plant, which contributes 26MW and the 70MW Olkaria I and 140MW Olkaria V.

“We are committed to achieving our target of 3,500MW of installed power generation capacity from green sources by 2025. The goal is to increase this to 17,760MW by 2030,” he said.

Noting that the amount of geothermal energy was expected to be at 7,000MW by 2030, Dr Kihalangwa said this would greatly support continued efforts to connect more homes to the national grid. He said Kenya Power had a total 8.59 million customers at the end of December last year, from 8.27 million in June 2021. “This increase will help the company grow its revenues as we continue to lower its tariffs aimed at making power affordable to all Kenyans,” he said.

Dr Kihalangwa said Kenya tops globally in efforts to increase connectivity among its population, according to Energy Progress Report for 2021 by World Bank, in partnership with other international agencies.

“Kenya’s annualised increase in electricity access between 2010 and 2019 was at 5.6 per cent. This is the largest among the top 20 countries with the biggest electricity access gap in the world,” he said.

He said 841km of transmission lines and five substations were completed and had been energised as of June 2021.

“Additional infrastructure with a route length of 1,418km is in progress and expected to be complete by June 2023,” he said.

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