Kenya’s KenGen to add more power from geothermal sources

A utility pole supporting wires for electricity distribution is seen in Nairobi, Kenya, November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

State-run Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) plans to add nearly 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from geothermal sources by 2025 as part of a government push to end power generation from fossil fuels.

“You are aware that going forward, the government policy which all generators including KenGen and including independent power producers, is to eliminate generation from fossil fuels,” Moses Wekesa, Business Development Director, said during a visit to KenGen’s geothermal plants last week.

Kenya has an installed generating capacity of 2,370 MW and peak demand of about 1,770 MW. Of this, KenGen has an installed capacity of 1,631 MW, with 533 MW from geothermal.

Demand for electricity is growing at about 8 percent per year until 2020, and will rise to 9 percent in 2021, after which it will stabilise at 7 percent, according to the government’s transmission and generation plan.

“First as a rule of thumb, your supply must always be ahead of demand. The reason being, that it takes a while to put up a power plant,” Wekesa said.

Kenya is ramping up electricity production and investing in its grid to keep up with growing demand for power and to reduce frequent blackouts. It relies heavily on renewables such as geothermal and hydro power. According to Ernst and Young’s latest Renewable energy country attractiveness index, which was released in October, Kenya is ranked 37th worldwide.  The index measures a country’s ability to develop, promote and implement renewable energy projects in a timely manner.

The Geothermal Resources Council ranks Kenya at number 8 worldwide in terms of installed capacity from geothermal.