KenGen unveils plan to increase energy output in the next 10 years

KenGen Geothermal Plaza offices in Naivasha. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Power producer Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has said it plans to increase its power generating capacity by 3,000 megawatts (MW) over the next 10 years.

This would mean more than doubling its current electricity production capacity, which currently stands at 1,904MW.

The firm said the new capacity would be from renewable power generation sources, with about two-thirds, or 2,000MW coming from geothermal and hydro sources.

This will be through the rehabilitation of old power plants as well as new ones at its Olkaria geothermal fields and the Tana River basin hydropower cascade.

KenGen acting chief executive Abraham Serem said the company had revamped its corporate strategy and rolled out a 10-year strategy that seeks to add 3,000MW within the next decade.

He noted that while Kenya has the potential to produce an estimated 10,000MW through geothermal, it has tapped only under 10 per cent of this at about 900MW.

Most of the geothermal power production is by KenGen at 799MW.

"So far we have only exploited about 0.9GW (gigawatts) of the 10GW geothermal potential and that is why a huge chunk of the additional capacity will be drawn from geothermal," said Serem. "Our focus going forward is to secure the baseload capacity to stabilise Kenya's energy supply mainly from green renewable energy."

While the renewable energy projects are aimed at reducing reliance on costly power from sources such as thermal, it is emerging the company failed to play a part in a power cost reduction plan last year.

KenGen, together with other State-owned power sector players was expected to contribute to the 15 per cent power reduction effected in January last year following a December 2021 presidential directive.

The Auditor General in a new report said the firm failed to reduce the cost of electricity sold to Kenya Power as agreed, leaving the latter to shoulder much of the burden.

KenGen was expected to reduce its power price by Sh3.5 billion over the year or Sh1.75 billion over the half between January and June, which fell within the year under review.

It, however, failed to implement the agreement between the energy sector players and the Energy ministry.

The other firms that were expected to chip in were Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) and Geothermal Development Company (GDC).

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