Turkana has been considered the darkest of Kenya?s counties when night falls

The county has a population of 992,001, bigger than the populations of Vihiga, Busia, Kericho, Narok, Laikipia, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Trans-Nzoia, Nyamira, Siaya, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Garissa or Wajir. All these counties are more connected to power than Turkana, a county that has been plagued by incessant insecurity and drought.

Mandera and Tana River tie as the second darkest counties at three per cent. Mandera has a huge population of 1,189,562 in the same region as Machakos, which has a population of 1,274,021 according to 2015 estimates from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Mandera is much more populous than Murang?a (1,093,105), Mombasa (1,089,381), Nyeri (804,315), Kitui (1,174,432), Makueni, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Busia and Bomet.

Of Tana River?s 54,986 households, only 1,639 are connected to power. In other interesting facts brought out by the ranking, Garissa is much more connected to power at 12 per cent than Kitui at eight per cent.

The two counties neighbour each other, but Kitui is much closer to the ?seven folks dams? which generates a considerable amount of electricity for the country. Garissa is also more connected than Busia, Bungoma, Bomet, Siaya and many others.

Isiolo is also more connected to power than its more populous neighbour Meru, whose 1.5 million population is almost 10 times Isiolo?s 166,000 population.

In contrast, Nairobi County is the most lit county in Kenya, with 87 per cent of its 3,639,546 residents having power in their houses. Kiambu follows with 73 per cent, Kajiado 62 per cent, Mombasa 58 per cent, Uasin Gishu 39 per cent, Nyeri 37 per cent, Nakuru 34 per cent and Machakos 31 per cent.

The 47 counties are sharing out the 2,196 megawatts of power generated in the country. Kenya aims to attain a 5,000MW generation capacity by the year 2017.

According to statistics tabled at the devolution conference recently by Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo, Kenya targets to generate 1,896MW of geothermal power, 1,920MW from coal, 1,109MW from natural gas, 535MW from wind, 840MW from hydro, 418MW from thermal and 44MW from cogeneration by 2017. ?The achievement of the plan would enable us to overcome perennial generation shortfalls, shift from incremental generation to transformational planning and fast-track generation capacity ahead of demand,? Chumo said.

The 5,000 megawatt-plus power capacity by 2017 may be ambitious but it pales in comparison to Kenya?s peer?s generation capacity in the continent and elsewhere.

By 2012, South Africa was generating 44,459MW, the highest in the continent. It was followed by Egypt at 29,452MW. The two countries account for slightly more than 50 percent of Africa?s total installed generation. Other well powered countries in Africa include Algeria at 12,981MW as at 2012, Libya 7,121MW, Morocco 6,763MW, Nigeria 6,090MW, Tunisia 4,203MW and the two Sudans at 3,038MW. At 1,851MW in 2012, Kenya was the most powered county in East Africa, beating Uganda and Tanzania twice their capacity.

Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique were doing much better than Kenya in 2013, with installed generation of 2,030MW, 1,888MW and 2,436MW respectively. At 2,506MW, Congo DR was also doing much better than Kenya as was Ghana with 2,203MW and Ethiopia with 2,470MW.

The total generation of East Africa countries ? Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Seychelles, Rwanda, Burundi and Comoros ? could not match the total generation of Nigeria. The total generation is 4,304MW against Nigeria?s 6,090MW. The combined generation capacity of West Africa, East Africa, Horn of Africa and Nile Valley, Central Africa and Southern Africa counties (excluding South Africa), could not match the generation of SA. They pooled a total of 35,986MW almost 10,000MW short of SA?s 44,559MW.

The African country with the least amount of installed generation of power was Comoros with only 22MW capacity followed by Liberia 23, Guinea-Bissau 26, Chad 31, Burundi 55 and Western Sahara 58. Others doing badly in the continent in power generation are Central Africa Republic at 44MW, Gambia 62, Somalia 80, Sierra Leone 81, Seychelles 89, Lesotho 80 and Rwanda 99. The whole continent had a total of 142,736MW capacity by 2012. The figure is however shy of Germany?s 177,072MW production in the same year. ?By and large and in comparison with others, Africa is still a dark continent,? Chumo says.

Kenya?s peers like Singapore were generating 10,250MW, Malaysia 25,390MW, Thailand 32,600MW, Indonesia 39,900 MW by 2013 while Philippines 16360MW.

China led the world as at 2013 in installed power generation capacity at 1.1 million megawatts followed by the US with 1.03 million megawatts, Japan 287,000, Russia 223,000, India 208,000 and Germany 153,000.

By Nzau Musau


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