Kenya’s geothermal generation surges to 402 million KWh a month

Kenya's geothermal power production has peaked at 402 million kilowatts per hour (KWh) a month as the East African nation seeks affordable, cleaner and reliable electricity.


The country produced 402.2 million KWh in October, up from 389 million KWh in September and 378 million KWh in August, latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed on Wednesday.


It is the first time that the East African nation’s geothermal power production has crossed the 400 million KWh mark ever since it started to surge in December 2014 after the injection of additional 280 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

Kenya was the first African country to tap geothermal power, according to the World Bank. It has potential to produce 7,000MW and is targeting production of at least 5,000 MW by 2030.

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 million KWh a month, up from an average of 750 million KWh.

With the rise in geothermal power production, consumers are enjoying uninterrupted power supply and bidding goodbye to blackouts that characterized 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 U.S. dollars 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. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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