Electricity demand in Kenya hits historical high

  • Demand for electricity in Kenya has reached a new record this week rising to a peak of 2,036MW
  • The country recorded a new energy gross demand peak of 36,381MWh mostly drawn from renewable energy sources

The demand for electricity in Kenya hit a new record this week rising to a peak of 2,036MW, the highest ever recorded in history, marking a significant resurgence in demand since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

At the same time, the country recorded a new energy gross demand peak of 36,381MWh mostly drawn from renewable energy sources as the economy responds positively to the lifting of some of the COVID-19 related restrictions.

National energy generator, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), contributed to the largest jump in renewable energy share with the company scaling up production in its geothermal, hydro and wind power stations to meet the growing demand.

According to a report by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the total amount of electricity generated by KenGen through its hydropower stations exceeded the period’s projections by 581MWh, denoting a 5.56% increase. KenGen’s total installed hydro capacity currently stands at 826 MW.

KenGen’s Gitaru, Kindaruma, Kamburu, and Kiambere Power Stations were among the hydropower stations that surpassed the projected power generation output. The stations are part of the Seven Forks cascade which forms a crucial component of KenGen’s power generation infrastructure and about 29% of Kenya’s total installed capacity

Commenting on the report, KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano said the NSE-listed firm was committed to delivering on its energy generation mandate to meet the country’s growing demand for electricity through renewable energy sources.

“KenGen is committed to ensuring a steady and reliable supply of competitively priced energy to support Kenya’s economy. The company is doing this by accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind and solar,” said Miano.

The KenGen CEO has reiterated the company’s commitment to support the Government of Kenya’s ambition to achieve 100% utilization of renewable energy by the year 2030 as a way of fighting climate change.

“Our future project pipeline is mostly green which includes geothermal, wind, hydro, and solar. The projects will be implemented in phases with the first, 83MW Olkaria I unit 6 expected to be commissioned by end of this year,” she said.

Early this year, KenGen joined United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Business Ambition for 1.5°C Campaign, saying it is banking its future on the green, affordable and accessible energy, including geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar.

In a separate story, The Exchange Africa reported that KenGen has started drilling the first of three geothermal wells in Djibouti.

The commencement sets in motion a KSh 700 million contract signed in February this year.
According to the company, the drilling of the first well is expected to take about two months to complete as KenGen seeks to export the expertise and experience earned in Olkaria, Naivasha where the company has successfully drilled about 320 geothermal wells.
KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano termed the deal a historic moment for the firm.
KenGen MD & CEO Rebecca Miano
“We are confident that our team on-site will deliver the project within the contracted time and on budget despite the prevailing circumstances brought about by COVID-19 and security situation in neighboring Ethiopia.”
The CEO said KenGen had assigned a highly specialized multiskilled team to the project in the Horn of Africa country comprised of mechanical Engineers, drilling Engineers, project managers, drillers, cementing technicians and specialized welders among other key professionals in the geothermal development value chain.
With the drilling rig set up, KenGen is set to commence drilling of three geothermal wells for Djibouti Office of Geothermal Energy Development (ODDEG) over the next few months.
ODDEG Project Manager, Abdirasak Omar Moumin exuded confidence that KenGen would deliver the project as planned, adding that the Djiboutian team was looking forward to acquiring new knowledge from the Kenyan NSE-listed firm.
“We are happy with KenGen and learning a lot from the team on the ground. They have a long history and expertise in geothermal which makes them the best partners in implementing our geothermal dream,” said Moumin.
The Djiboutian venture is part of KenGen’s ambitious diversification strategy, in which the company is seeking to acquire new revenue streams by offering commercial drilling services, geothermal consulting and other related services across Africa.
This is the third mega geothermal drilling contract that KenGen is implementing in Africa. In October 2019, the company secured a KSh 5.8 billion contract to drill 12 geothermal wells in Ethiopia.

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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