Demand for Diesel Power Generation wanes in Kenya

Wind, Solar, Geothermal, and Hydro 
the leading  sources of power
Green energy sources of Power generation in Kenya have surpassed 2.4GW thus paving the way for decommissioning of Diesel powered generation. Demand for Thermal power is declining as other cheaper sources come on stream. 
This process will begin in two years’ time, the President has announced. Kenya is also, self-sufficient in electric power generation in the short run.

The current capacity has risen to 2351 MW against a peak demand of 1802 MW, says KPLC, the electricity distributor.  Ninety percent (or 2.4 GW) of this capacity is supplied by green sources-hydro, geothermal, wind, and Solar sources. 
The spare capacity, which is a requirement in power generation, stood at 23 percent by June 31, 2018, says the power Distributor, KPLC’s in its annual report 2017/18. Since then, an additional 364 MW have been added to the grid which puts the total capacity at 2715 MW.
That there is more capacity to spare is a plus for the power generating community for it ensures that they do not operate under pressure.
And in a vindication to our earlier diagnosis on why Kenya’s electricity bills remain high,, thermal power is slated for decommissioning.
We had diagnosed the cause of high electricity tariffs to PPAs signed with thermal power producers. The contracts, signed more than 10 years ago, have a clause for paying for idle capacity. New technologies in power generation have rendered this sources redundant, we reported.
The Phaseout will cover mainly the Coast and Western Kenya, announced President Uhuru Kenyatta, two weeks ago.
SGR: To be run on electricity
 The president announced that some 1060 MW of green energy has been added to the national grid in the last five years, of which 364 MW, were added in the last three months.
The bulk of these additions, analysts say, is in geothermal, Solar and wind power. In fact, the 364 MW added in the last three months were Windpower 310 MW and Solar Power 54 MW. Wind power and Solar are fastest growing electricity generators in the country followed by geothermal energy. This is mainly due to the low initial Capital outlay required to set them up.
Sources in the industry say that geothermal energy, in which Kenya is the leader in Africa, has already replaced Hydro generated power as the base load.  Kenya boasts of 700 MW of geothermal energy and will soon cross the 1 GW mark.
Already there are more than 600MW in the Pipeline to wit: 105 MW from Menengai fields, 300MW from Suswa fields and another 300MW from Ol-Karia fields, owned by KenGen, the state-owned power generation Corporation.  The firm plans to add another 160MW of geothermal energy by Mid-Next year.
 That the Coast region, which is heavily dependent on Thermal power, has received 100MWof geothermal energy as the base supply, is an indication that the days of Thermal power are numbered. The region hosts three of the high capacity Diesel powered generators in the country, these are; Rabai power (90 MW), Tsavo power (75MW), and Kipevu (90 MW).
KETRACO to build more transmission 
The Thermal plants slated for decommissioning are relatively older contracts and produce small quantities of power. They, therefore, can be paid off the remaining years to close down so that power costs shrink.
 Kenya targets to generate 10GW by 2030. Whether that target is reached remains to be seen. However, going by the speed at which investment is flowing into the sector, they could reach at least 80 percent of the target in ten years’ time. 
The drivers of this growth will be Geothermal, Wind and Solar sources. Already there are 200MW of wind power and more than 600MW of geothermal energy in the pipeline. Once they all come on stream three years down the road, Kenya’s power generation capacity will cross 3GW mark.

In line with the growing capacity of electric power generation, the firm that constructs power transmission lines, KETRACO, has applied for clearance from the environmental authority to electrify the Standard Gauge Railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi and the adjoining economic zones. 
 The project proposed to last for 28 months will see the Railway line shift from diesel to electric powered engines. The project will involve the construction of 12 transmission lines and 14 substations to benefit industries along the railway line.
Meanwhile, the power distributor Kenya Power and Lighting Company has announced that it has connected close to 70 percent of Kenya’s population, and has therefore reached a saturation point. Consequently, it will go slow on network expansion. The firm had 6.7 million customers by the end of the last financial year suggesting it has reached saturation point.

It will thus build 3400 kilometres of medium voltage power lines this year, a 50 percent drop on 6674 km built in the previous year. Further,

it will build 14 new substations, 13 less than the previous year which ended in June.


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