In Summary
  • Geothermal, solar and wind energy investments in the past decade are beginning to pay off with great benefits .
  • In one year, wind-generated electricity has grown from two per cent of the overall energy mix to 14-17 percent of total installed national capacity.
  • Geothermal electricity, now tops, contributes 45 percent of the overall energy with hydro second at 29.8 percent.

A year ago, one or two months of dry weather meant an automatic switch from hydro power to expensive diesel-generated electricity. This year is different.

The country is calmly awaiting the onset of the long rains without the yester-year worry about the declining levels of water in the Seven Forks dams which generate the bulk of Kenya’s hydroelectric power.

Energy sector players, including Kenya Power, KenGen and the Ministry of Energy, have not called a press conference to announce power rationing or justify increased uptake of costlier thermal power.

DEMAND

To the contrary, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) reported in January that the proportion of wind power in the national grid had surpassed diesel-generated electricity.

Geothermal, solar and wind energy investments in the past decade are beginning to pay off with great benefits to both the energy mix and the country’s current account. Since Lake Turkana Wind Power started injecting into the national grid in September 2018, it has produced 463.069GWH of clean, renewable energy.

This has increased Kenya’s spinning reserve capacity (the generating capacity available to the system operator within a short interval to meet demand in case of a disruption of supply) and saved the country approximately $35 million in fuel imports between November 2018 and January 2019. The multiplier effect of this is being felt at the macro-economic level.

In one year, wind-generated electricity has grown from a negligible under two per cent of the overall energy mix to 14-17 percent of total installed national capacity during the day and up-to 30 percent during off-peak hours at night.

Geothermal electricity, now tops, contributes 45 percent of the overall energy with hydro second at 29.8 percent.

Page 1 of 2