The Kenyan Energy Cabinet Secretary, Charles Keter, has indicated that government will be forced to use more thermal power to meet the current demands.
Keter said this while on a tour of the Sondu-Miriu hydroelectric power station in Kisumu County.
According to the Daily Nation, Kenya Power usually buys electricity from the thermal producers at an average wholesale price of Sh19.24 ($0.19) per unit for onward sale to customers.
That rate is said to be six times more expensive than hydropower, which costs Sh3 per unit ($0.02) and three times higher than geothermal energy at Sh8 ($0.07).
However, the government official said: “We have been forced to use diesel power plant in Muhoroni to supplement the power shortage being experienced in the western region.”
He added that it’s disastrous for the country to have allowed its reliance on hydroelectric power grow to over 50%.
The Sondu-Miriu station is currently operating at half capacity due to the declining water levels, which has forced the power plant to wait until mid-day when it has accumulated water from River Sondu.
He stated that the prolonged drought could force the government to shut down the power station that relies on Masinga Dam. Read more…
Masinga power station produces 40MW and is part of the crucial Seven Forks hydroelectricity system in Embu that Kenya relies on for cheap power.
Geothermal to avert using thermal power
In the short term to better the situation at hand, Keter however said the government will award the tender for completion of the geothermal line from Bomet to Narok in the next two weeks.
“Already there is some work being done on Olkaria-Narok while Bomet coming all the way to Chemosit has been done,” he said adding that the completion will help in the evacuation of geothermal power from Olkaria which will be key when there is insufficient rainfall.
He also sought to allay fears of expensive power, saying the long rains of between March and May are expected to start in the next two weeks, to boost the country’s hydroelectric power generation.
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