Recent import figures show important role of geothermal power in Kenya

Recent import figures show important role of geothermal power in Kenya Transmission infrastructure at Menengai, Kenya (source: Agence ecofin)

Geothermal power development has helped Kenya to cut electricity costs and decrease dependency from electricity imports. How important that is is shown by a recent increase in electricity imports due to line maintenance.

Recent news report that Kenya’s recent electricity imports from Uganda grew by nearly a third in the year to July this year.

This follows the shutdown of parts of the electricity grid for lines maintenance, which normally feed geothermal power from the plants at Olkaria into the national grid.

For the first seven months of 2016, Kenya has imported 40.7 million kWh from Uganda, compared to 31 million kWh in the same period last year, an increase of about one third.

Last year, Kenya proudly reported the cut of electricity imports from Uganda in half, being able to tap into 280 MW of geothermal power capacity that started operation in 2015.

Last June, Kenya cut off a third (200 MW) of cheaper geothermal power from the national grid due to lines maintenance, creating room for increased uptake of alternative power sources, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The energy regulator said construction works at Suswa substation on the Maai Mahiu-Narok highway prompted Kenya to temporarily withdraw the geothermal energy.

So being able to tap cheaper and local geothermal power has a large impact on the energy market in Kenya is crucial not only decrease energy prices in the country, but also utilise national energy resources.

Source: AllAfrica