Geothermal plants supply 402 GWh or more than 50% of electricity in Kenya

Geothermal plants supply 402 GWh or more than 50% of electricity in Kenya Uhuru Park, Nairobi/ Kenya (source: flickr/DEMOSH, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 10 Dec 2015

Kenya reaches a new peak in geothermal power generation having for the first time passed 400 GWh of electricity generation by geothermal per month. Geothermal now represents 51 percent of the power supply in Kenya.

For the first time, geothermal power generation has exceeded 400 GWh of electricity per month. In October this year, the geothermal power plants of the country produced 402 GWh, which is up from 389 GWh in September and 378 GWh in August, according to data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) this week.

This is a new peak following the big surge in December 2014 after the injection of additional 280 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

According to the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), the country aims at increasing geothermal capacity by another 460 megawatts by 2018 to reduce the volume of hydro-power in its mix to 28 percent. This is to significantly reduce the exposure of Kenya’s electricity consumers to the consequences of bad weather and climate change, which considerably cuts power supply from the hydro-power stations and forces the country to resort to costly thermal power generated from diesel.

Geothermal contribution to the national energy mix now stands at 51 percent, with hydro-power coming in second.

The rise in geothermal power generation has boosted the total electricity production in the East African nation to over 800 GWh a month, up from an average of 750 GWh.

With the rise in geothermal power production, consumers are enjoying uninterrupted power supply and bidding goodbye to blackouts that characterised use of electricity years ago.”I am happy with the electricity supply. I do not remember the last time we had a blackout in this estate but things are good. My bills have also come down slightly,” Kevin Mutua, a cybercafé operator in Komarock estate on the east of Nairobi said.

Boosted by increased geothermal power generation, electricity supplier Kenya Power made its first tariff cut in June. Homes using between 51-1,500 units now pay $0.125 per unit from $0.134 dollars. “A stable and cheaper power supply is all a nation needs to develop because businesses make more money by having fewer interruptions and they save on their electricity bills,” said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, adding that geothermal power injects impetus into the Kenyan economy by creating more jobs and shoring up its industrialization.

Source: CoastWeek