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Geothermal key element in Kenya’s bid for full transition to renewables by 2020

City center of Nairobi, Kenya (source: flickr/ Ninara, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 10 Dec 2018

Pushing geothermal development, Kenya is also putting emphasis on other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar in its bid for full transition to renewable energy by 2020.

During the recent groundbreaking for the Olkaria I Unit 6 geothermal power project in Naivasha, Kenya, the country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said that his government is investing in geothermal, solar, wind and hydro power projects to achieve full transition to renewable energy in the next two years.

Since becoming president in 2013, the country has added 1,063 MW of power generation capacity to the national grid and just in the last three months it added 364 MW of renewable power generation capacity. This included 310 MW from Lake Turkana wind farm, and 54 MW from Garissa solar plant. With its baseload capacity, geothermal is a crucial element in this bid, providing today around 45% of electricity generated in the country, as we reported.

“To be more specific we, as a country, have committed ourselves to attain 100 percent green sufficiency by 2020 and we are on the right path towards realizing that target,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony. Beside geothermal energy, Kenya has increased efforts to utilise other forms of renewable energy, especially wind, solar, small hydro power and bioenergy.

Kenyatta noted when his government came to power, households connected to electricity stood at 2.2 million, adding that this had now risen to 6.9 million households.

“In five short years, we have more than tripled access to electricity, and made it far easier for our children to study without strain. Every public school in the country is currently connected to electricity and plans are underway to make sure that all households have power before I leave office,” he said.

The Kenyan leader said that he was waiting for the Ministry of Energy to reduce the cost of energy targeting the SMEs before passing the same benefits to households.

“At the end of the month I will be checking on the electricity bill for the SMEs to see if their electricity bills have dropped as I had directed,” Kenyatta said.

He said the government intention is to deepen the use of renewable energy, in particular solar as per the National Electrification Strategy that will be launched later this week.

“We have to use renewable sources of energy to protect our environment, and ensure that we pass down, to our sons and daughters, a country as clean and green as we inherited from our fathers,” said Kenyatta.

Charles Keter, energy cabinet secretary said the country is currently at 90 percent of renewable energy and is working towards the realization of full transition to green energy within the set timeline.

Source: XinhuaNet