On Tuesday, the government of Kenya announced that it will not be increasing electricity tariff rates due to a lack of rainfall affecting its hydropower dams as the geothermal steam plants are generating sufficient power to meet demand.
The East African region has plans to expand its current generation capacity of 2,152MW to 5,00MW by 2017, which will reduce electricity costs and the total cost of business, according to Reuters.
Dam levels remain sufficient as the geothermal production has been adequate enough to offset the need for hydropower energy, accounting for an estimated 52% of power generation, said Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir.
Chirchir added that Kenya will not resort to diesel power as a means of back-up power.
“The hydros are performing very well. We are not overdrawing the water because we have significant amount of geothermal,” Chirchir told media.
Hydroelectric power in Kenya
Kenya’s current installed hydropower capacity is 820MW and geothermal is 585MW.
With demand exceeding supply, the government has the objective of increasing grid connectivity from 32% to 75-80% within the next five years.
In February 2015, the last phase of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company’s (KenGen) geothermal power plant Olkaria I Unit 4 and 5 was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta.