Kakamega hydroelectric power plant targets 30,000 households

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and Ken Onditi durind KNCCI business awards and gala dinner. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

Three hydroelectric power plants are being installed in Kakamega County under the rural electrification programme to serve at least 30,000 households.

Governor Fernandes Barasa said each of the plants will generate up to 750 kilowatts of power to serve individual households, businesses, learning institutions and government offices at an affordable rate.

Barasa, who was speaking during the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kakamega Business Awards and Gala Dinner, noted that the power plants will each supply electricity within a radius of 18 kilometres. 

“We will no longer rely on the expensive and undependable power supply from the national supplier and Kakamega will enjoy a steady power supply going forward,” he said.

He revealed that the power plants would be erected along Nzoia and Yala rivers, that pass through the county. 

The governor said that during dry seasons when water levels are low in the rivers, they would revert to standby solar supply.

HydroBox founder, John Mogiro, explained that the process of building the power plants would entail diverting water from a nearby river to spin turbines that generate electricity.

Mogiro said there would be a small reservoir where water is channelled into a canal and subsequently directed through processes that end up producing power.

The news comes against the backdrop of the ongoing construction of Kakamega Waste To Energy Plant (Kakamega Solid Waste Power Station) a 10 MW (13,000 hp) solid waste-fired thermal power plant.

VR Holding AB, a Swedish energy company has been awarded the concession contract to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the power station.

As a raw material, the power station is designed to use solid waste collected from homes, businesses and industries in Kakamega and the neighbouring counties of Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Trans Nzoia, Vihiga among others to generate power.

Wycliffe Kibisu of the KNCCI – Kakamega Chapter lauded the plans to construct the power generation plant saying the initiative would help address frequent power outages that have negatively impacted businesses.

“Some of our members deal with highly perishable products and have been recording huge losses due to unreliable power supply,” said Kibisu.

The overall winner during the Business Awards was Ebrahim Ambwere, a renowned business mogul in real estate, hospitality, manufacturing and farming across the Lake Region Economic Bloc.

Ruth Minish, the proprietor of Fesbeth Schools received an award for being the best investor in the education sector in Kakamega, and for employing 240 people on permanent and pensionable terms.

Others who received awards are Cleophas Shimanyula who started as a matatu driver before owning a big transport company and Kakamega Homeboyz, a football club.