Geothermal helps boost Kenya’s electricity exports to neighbouring countries

Power transmission lines in Kenya (source: flickr/ aaron.knox, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 11 Feb 2016

Geothermal power generation continues to help Kenya boost its electricity exports to Uganda and Tanzania, while drawing back on electricity imports.

Kenya sees continued growth of its electricity exports to the neighbouring countries of Tanzania and Uganda.

Particularly geothermal power generation has helped Kenya to double its electricity exports. The electricity distributor, Kenya Power sold 46.6 million kWh to the two countries last year, up from 26.9 million a year earlier, official data shows.

The country also cut its power imports by almost half following the injection of geothermal power to the national grid.

The additional cheaper geothermal energy, especially the 280MW injected in the second half of 2014, helped to reduce the use of expensive thermal power.

But power bills have remained nearly the same over the period as the expected benefits were wiped out by tariff increases in June 2014. Kenya has a direct transmission line connecting it with Uganda, enabling bulk power trade. Uganda accounted for 93 per cent of the market for power from Kenya.

The country, however, lacks a line connecting it with Tanzania, resulting in limited power exchange at common border towns which are not connected to the Tanzanian grid. Kenya sells power to parts of Tanzania that via Namanga, while Dar es Salaam previously sold power to Nairobi via the coastal local towns of Lunga Lunga and Vanga.

Nairobi last year stopped electricity imports from Dar es Salaam and significantly cut imports from Kampala while ramping up its power sales.

Source: All Africa