6 May 2008 – Kenya aims to raise the level of electrification in the country to above 20% within the next three years, energy minister Kiraitu Murungi said last week.

A government initiative to light up a million rural homes has gained a moment of 10% electrification rate, but this was still not enough to jump start industrialisation in Kenya, the minister said.

He compared the rate of electrification in Kenya with Nigeria (95%) and Zambia (50%)

"As demand for electricity is rising at more than 6 % annually, the ministry of energy intends to raise the level of connectivity as well as promote additional investment in power generation," he said.

Plans formulated by the ministry included connecting public institutions to the grid, in addition to a million households.

"The project of improving the power distribution system which started in 2004 is still continuing,” Kiraitu said.

Various projects have been earmarked by government to increase access to electricity including “50MW of additional oil fired capacity by Iberafrica at Nairobi industrial area, 35MW of additional geothermal power capacity by Orpower, 80-90MW medium speed power plant at Rabai Mombasa by a BWSC-Aldwych consortium and 80-90MW medium speed diesel plant by Simba Energy. “

There will also be 34MW of cogenerated power at the Mumias Sugar Company, using bagasse.  26MW of that power will be sold to KPLC with the balance being used on site.

The minister further disclosed that an interim 50MW diesel power plant at the Embakasi KPLC site will be discontinued by end of next year once the envisaged power generation projects are completed.

"This interim additional diesel power generation plant being installed at the KPLC will raise the existing temporary generation capacity to 146MW and is expected to be discontinued by December next year when the operation of the planned projects kicks on," he said.