Kenya to add 270 MW to electricity grid

5 August 2009 – Kenya plans to boost its electricity generation by 270 MW by October to ease a deficit caused by dwindling hydropower generation that has caused supply cuts, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said.

He said planned projects included 26 MW from sugar cane by-products due to hit the national grid in August, and 244 MW thermal power due online at different times ending in October.

East Africa’s biggest economy will also save another 50 MW in electricity demand by distributing 1.25m energy-saving light bulbs worth 300m shillings ($3.92m).

Kenyan demand has grown in recent years due to booming economic activity following decades of stagnation. Peak power demand stands at about 1050 MW against an installed capacity of 1100 MW, which includes emergency reserves.

The distributor, Kenya Power Supply Company (KPLC), said that, as of this month, the country was seeing an average shortfall of 70 MW at certain times of day.

In early July, the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN) stopped producing 40 MW of electricity at one hydro dam due to drought that cut water levels.

Murungi told a news conference that the dry spell had slashed electricity production on the Tana River, the site of most of Kenya’s hydropower stations, by 60 per cent. This month, the government will float a tender worth 130m shillings for the reforestation of one of Tana’s catchment areas, the minister added.

He said that due to the shortfall, distributor Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), will introduce power cuts later in the week