Kenya reduces electricity imports from Uganda by 50%
22 September 2015, 10:27
Nairobi - Kenya has reduced electricity imports from Uganda by 50%, proving to have a strong economy by heading towards self-reliant in generation and supply of power. The reduction of power from Uganda follows an increase of additional geothermal power and oversupply from Fossil Fuels into the National grid.
In a statement to the media, Kenya Power Chief Executive, Ben Chumo said that Kenya is now self-sufficient in terms of power generation after more than 280 MW was added to the National grid last year from various geothermal projects countrywide.
Uganda, which is pushing for increased trade with Kenya, has been contributing 95 percent of Kenya’s power imports. Kenya also imports power from Ethiopia which however is not linked to the national electricity grid. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda will soon build a 400 kilovolt (KV) electricity line running from Olkaria in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
Last year, Kenya stepped up imports from Uganda to meet growing need for power driven by rising demand from industries and increased customer connections, particularly in rural areas. Since then, Kenya’s power sector has been upgraded enabling the country to reduce power imports from Uganda by 50%.
Kenya consumes an average of 540 million kWh of electricity each month, against an average 630 million kWh generated each month. Since July last year, the bulk of the country’s electricity was generated from geothermal, followed by hydro and thermal sources.
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Kenya has been tapping geothermal resources in the Rift Valley as part of its broader ambition to add 5,000 Megawatts to its electricity output by 2017.The country has close to 3,000 MW of proven geothermal energy in the Rift Valley.
Connectivity to the national grid in Kenya currently stands at 28% of the Kenyan population translated to about 13 Million people. Kenya has made considerable strides to increase the number of customers accessing electricity in the last five years. The prospects of power supply in Kenya paint a bright future.
Data from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) indicates that Kenya imported 27.97 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) from neighbouring countries including Ethiopia in the first half of 2015. This import was recorded as a drop of 51.7% compared to electricity imported in the previous years.
An ERC executive stated, “The reduction in power imports is the positive effect of the additional geothermal power in Kenya. The decline follows the injection of 280 megawatts of geothermal power into the national grid between July and December 2014. This decline resulted in a considerable drop of power bills in the past one year.”
ERC records indicates that Uganda sold 102.13 million kWh of electricity to Kenya Power last year, earning Uganda about KSh1 billion. Uganda has been exporting electricity to Kenya under an agreement established dating back to pre-independence colonial days before 1963. The agreement with Uganda was renegotiated at Uganda’s insistence in 1997.
Kenyans may actually be enjoying the fruits of expansion of power in the country following reduced power blackout in the last one year. There have been positive feedbacks from private firms coming up with innovations of solar and geothermal power plants across the country. This is a sign of a country on an economic growth.
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