Kenya’s power generation capacity will hit 1,800 megawatts on the account of a 17.5% boost from an extra 280 megawatt, which would be added to the national grid starting March 29 2014.
Total installed electricity capacity, which was 1,600 MW, would stand at 1,880 megawatts. An initial 70 MW, for testing, is expected to be followed by a further 70 MW in April. The remaining 140 megawatts will be added later to complete the upgrade, as efforts aimed at reducing electricity costs by using renewable power in place of diesel powered generators yields fruit.
Kenya recently drilled one of World’s biggest geothermal wells at Olkaria, south of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley region.
“As part of the Government of Kenya’s effort to scale up power generation by 5,000 megawatts in 40 months, KenGen and Kenya Power require to access the national grid to facilitate the connection of the 280MW of geothermal power in Olkaria,” the two energy firms were quoted by local news outfit, DailyNation, as saying.
Slow economic growth has been blamed on Kenya’s poor power supply, which has also been said to have increased the cost of living. A recent study lists Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, as Africa’s most expensive capital.
In a bid to increase power generation, the East African powerhouse has also turned to exploring nuclear power, with plans to have a plant ready by 2025. “The kind of things this country is imagining they want to do requires a lot of power,” said Director, Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, David Maina.
According to Maina, having sufficient power was key to Kenya’s development. He noted that big economies thrive on abundance of power supply, citing South Korea which has 43,000 megawatts.
Managing Director, Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen), Albert Mugo also noted that developing economies with sufficient power supply are doing well. Mugo cited Argentina as an example, noting that the South American country has just about the same population as Kenya and generates 24,000 MW of electricity.
Generating power from geo-thermal steam, according to Mugo can go as low as two cents. This he said will make it possible for Kenyans to access cheaper electricity, which will in turn foster economic growth and development.