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Kenya to Power Up

21 Nov

East Africa’s largest economy is struggling with ageing energy infrastructure and the government has said it plans to add 5,000 megawatts (MW) to the existing 1,664 MW of generation capacity by 2017. Kenya Power owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution in the country, its mandate is to plan for sufficient electricity generation and transmission to meet demand, building and maintain the power distribution and transmission network providing electricity to the country’s citizens.

In Kenya, electricity is mainly generated from Hydro, Thermal and Geothermal sources – with wind generation accounting for less than 6 Megawatts of the installed capacity. Currently, hydropower comprises over 40 percent of the installed capacity in Kenya and is sourced from various stations managed by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen). However Kenya is suffering from lack of adequate supplies to accommodate its energy needs. Kenya has been facing severe power shortages, putting pressure on the country’s economic growth and its efforts to improve the day-to-day lives of Kenyans. Only 25 percent of the population has access to electricity, and rural grid access is only about 5 percent. Scaling-up access to electricity and ensuring reliable power supply are key elements of Vision 2030, the government’s national development strategy to promote economic development, growth and competitiveness, and create jobs. The government has an ambitious goal: to achieve 40 percent energy access by 2030 by increasing electricity generation capacity to 11,510 MW by then from the current installed capacity of 1,473MW.electric

Efforts to finance the upgrading of the energy producing and distribution of electricity in Kenya has proven to be difficult with private sector investors concerned about the security of a return to their investments. Efforts have been made to allay those fears when the World Bank came up with a US$166 million series of Partial Risk Guarantees was put in place to reassure commercial financiers concerned about the state-owned electricity utility and its obligations towards them. The benefits are already starting to show with news that National electricity distributor, Kenya Power, has contracted a USD190 million (Shs.17 billion) long-term loan from the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) to implement infrastructural development projects. The funds will be channelled to support the on-going power expansion and system upgrade projects being implemented in various parts of the country in readiness for the expected additional generation capacity of 5,000 MW. Kenya Power will use the funds to make huge investments in acquisition of additional transformers and other construction materials in the next one year. These materials will be used to construct new substations and power lines while at the same time upgrading others to enhance capacity of the power network and improve quality and reliability of power supply to customers. This will allow for 1 million new customers and this will include both commercial and domestic users of electricity.

The Kenyan government in its ongoing quest to electrify the whole of Kenya established the Kenya Nuclear Electricity board with a mandate to fast track the development of nuclear electricity generation in Kenya. It will be an alternative energy source that is safe sufficient and reliable and this is part of the Vision 2030 programme.




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