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Olkaria geothermal power plant | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Olkaria geothermal power plant is seen in Rift Valley Province of Kenya. About 33 steam wells have been drilled in Kenya since the exploitation of geothermal energy began in 1981. Kenyan has the potential geothermal of 7,000 megawatts. XINHUA PHOTO - ZHAO YINGQUAN

Kenya plans to axe electricity price by 47 per cent in three years

 

THIKA (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan official said Sunday that the country plans to reduce the cost of electricity by 47 per cent in the next three years amid increased power generation from cheaper sources.

Principal Secretary for Energy and Petroleum Joseph Njoroge said the electricity producer, Kenya Power, is implementing a countrywide operation to upgrade the power network ahead of the expected additional generation capacity.

"The ongoing power project is all about making it easier to do business in Kenya, it’s about creating opportunities and jobs for all Kenyans," Njoroge said in Thika, about 60 km east of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The energy permanent secretary was speaking when he witnessed a 630,000 U.S. dollars power upgrade project aimed at stabilizing power supply to the town’s Central Business District and its industrial customers.

To accelerate its geothermal power production programme, the east African nation has also resorted to mobile wellhead plants which are faster to deploy.

Kenya has historically relied on hydropower for the bulk of its power generation.

During drought seasons, when hydropower drops in supply, Kenya has had to turn to costly emergency diesel-fired plants.

Heavy fuel oil plants offer a viable and lower cost alternative than diesel-fired plants to address the short-term energy deficit in Kenya.

Njoroge said generation projects for the 5,000 MW additional capacity in the medium term are well on course with electricity prices for domestic customers expected to come down from a current average of 0.19 dollars to 0.10 dollars per unit.

According to him, large power consumers, who include manufacturers and industrialists, should anticipate about 40 per cent reduction in power bills over the same period with unit prices expected to drop significantly from an average of 15 dollars to 9 dollars.
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JULY 2014:

Kenya Power inks loan deal to boost electricity connections

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s electricity distributor has signed a loan agreement with Jamii Bora Bank Limited (JBBL) to give to boost power supply.

Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo said the loan facility becomes available immediately and will run for two years which is renewable automatically unless the parties choose to end it.

He said upon approval of loan applications, the bank will issue confirmation letters to Kenya Power for the connection process to commence.

Kenya’s demand for electricity is expected to increase in the coming months as it intensifies its rural electrification programme to become an industrialised nation.

Jamii Bora Bank CEO Samuel Kimani, said the agreement was intended to make it easy for Kenyans to obtain electricity on convenient and affordable terms.

"All a prospective applicant needs to do is open an account with JBBL and they are eligible for the loan facility.

"Repayments will be recovered from the customers on a monthly basis," said Kimani.

He added that the loan facility will greatly assist Kenyans who may not have cash to pay for connection to the grid, noting that it was the intention of the government and the company to increase national access to electricity from the current 32 percent to 70 percent in the next five years.
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Kenya seeks U.S. $685 million dollars to expand electricity access

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya said on Monday it’s negotiating a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance its plan to expand electricity supply.

Cabinet Secretary of Energy and Petroleum, Davis Chirchir said the project worth 685 million U.S. dollars will push Kenya’s electricity access from the current 32 per cent to 70 per cent in five years.

He said the deal is expected to be completed by December to pave way for the first tranche of the loan amounting to 87.5 million dollars be disbursed this financial year.

He said the money will used to take electricity closer to potential electricity users and increase number of customers from the current 2.8 million to approximately 8 million in five years.

Kenya Power CEO, Ben Chumo, said the on-going countrywide power upgrade projects will help manufacturers increase their productivity and create jobs, while at the same time increase the country’s gross domestic product.
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Kenya to add 140 MW of power in August

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will connect an additional 140 Megawatts of power into the electricity grid in August, a senior government official has said.

Energy Cabinet secretary Davis Chirchir told a news conference in Nairobi that the electricity will be generated from geothermal power.

"This is part of the programme to add 5,000 MW to the national grid in the next 36 months," Chirchir said at a launch of a project to boost Kenya’s electricity transmission lines.

Kenya has an installed capacity of about 1600 MW.

Geothermal is one of the cheapest sources of power.

"Kenya will be able to deliver power at seven cent per kilowatt hour compared to the current average of 19 cents per kWh. which will help reduce the cost of power," he noted.

The east African nation had requested 800 million U.S.dollars loan facility from the African Development Bank to expand its electricity transmission network.

"The bank’s board is expected to approve the first tranche of 160 million dollars in September," he said.

The cabinet secretary added that Kenya plans to connect at least 3,000 primary schools to the national grid in the current financial year. An additional 3,000 schools will source electricity from solar sources.

"This will ensure the success of the planned school laptop project," Chirchir said. Kenya Power Managing Director Ben Chumo said his organization has set aside 11 million dollars to upgrade its electricity network.

Kenya has set aside 24 million dollars in the current financial year to subsidize connections to the national electricity grid.
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Kenya Power to improve electricity supply in Nairobi

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Electricity utility Kenya Power said on Friday it will invest 570,000 U.S. dollars in a massive exercise to rehabilitate power equipment and network serving Nairobi’s commercial and social hubs.

The firm’s CEO Ben Chumo said the operation will ensure that the power supply system is robust and power supply is consistent to minimize power outages occasioned by both planned and unplanned outages.

"This will enable our customers to enjoy the convenience of electricity in various economic and social endeavours due to minimum power supply interruptions," Chumo said.

He said the project is part of a major countrywide drive known as Upgrade Power Supply Systems, which involves conducting master repair works at existing substations and upgrading power lines.

The exercise is part of the undertaking that Kenya Power is implementing throughout the country as it expands and upgrades its electricity distribution infrastructure ahead of the expected additional generation capacity of 5,000 MW by 2017.

This will increase the country’s effective generation capacity by about 300 percent from the current 1,652 MW to 6,652 MW.

Chumo said the company will replace over 200 wooden poles with concrete poles, reconstruct 60 substation structures, conduct extensive repair works at Parklands substation and upgrade overloaded electricity lines serving customers in the area among other work.
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Kenya Power receives U.S. $ 40.6 million dollars for electricity connections

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s electricity utility Kenya Power has received 40.6 million U.S. dollars from the French Development Agency (AFD) and the EU to connect about 300,000 electricity customers in the next four years.

Kenya Power CEO Ben Chumo said the first tranche of the loan facility amounting to 5.5 million dollars will be disbursed in the next two months and will mainly benefit applicants for single phase electricity connections whose quotations do not exceed 400 dollars.

"Stima Loan is one of the initiatives spearheaded by the company in collaboration with the government, AFD and EU to ease the cost of power connections and help accelerate access to electricity by more Kenyans in line with the country’s development vision," Chumo said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The east African nation mainly relies on hydro for generation of electricity.

However, this year, Kenya did not receive adequate rainfall during the long rains season that normally begins from March to May.

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company says the decrease in rainfall has led to drop of water at the Seven Forks power generation dams, which account for about half of the country’s total electricity output.

Chumo said Stima loan program follows a successful pilot project which begun in 2010 with 53,836 Kenyans benefitting at a total cost of 13.7 million dollars as of June.

Managed as a revolving fund, he said, Stima Loan customers will pay a 20-percent up-front deposit and repay their loan within a period of 24 months.

"A 5-percent administration fee is charged on the loaned amount.

"The period of disbursing subsequent Stima loan tranche amounting to 5.4 million dollars will depend on the rate of loan uptake," he said.

Kenya’s demand for electricity is expected to increase in the coming months as the country intensifies its rural electrification program.
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High electricity, food costs push up producer inflation in Kenya

by Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Surging prices of electricity and food items have pushed up Kenya’s producer price inflation (PPI), new data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has shown.

The inflation rose by about 1 percent in the second quarter of the year, from 106.56 percent in the first quarter to 107.34 percent.

"The overall producer prices increased by 0.73 per cent in the second quarter compared to 0.36 percent recorded in the first quarter," said KNBS in a report.

During the second quarter, the main causes of the inflation were increase in prices of various key products and electricity.

"The second quarter witnessed increases in manufacture of grain mill products, vegetable and animal oils and fats and feeds."

In particular, under the grain products, producer prices of maize and wheat flour increased, pushing up the index by a whopping 8.1 per cent.

A 2 kg packet of maize flour is currently being sold at an average of 1.38 U.S. dollars, up from 1.3 dollars in the first quarter. On the other hand, a 90 kg bag of maize is going for a minimal of 37 dollars, up from 34 dollars in the first quarter.

"Overall, manufacture of food products rose by 0.93 per cent.

"The index on mining and quarrying rose by 3.65 percent in the second quarter mainly due to rise in price of standard soda ash," said KNBS.

The cost of manufacturing electricity, on the other hand, rose by 3.07 per cent in the second quarter.

There has been a steep rise in prices of electricity in the East African nation in the past months, in turn affecting the manufacturing sector.

New tariffs increased by 10 percent were implemented last month.

Manufacturers who were consuming 15,000 kilowatts per hour (KWH) of power are now paying 4,558 dollars, up from 4,140 dollars.

Similarly, households consuming 200 KWH of electricity are now paying 54 dollars, up from 49 dollars.

Manufacturers have complained that the high prices are lowering their competitiveness in the region, besides pushing up the cost of goods.

The new tariffs, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), will remain in force for one year before they are again revised upwards or downwards depending on the prevailing conditions.

ERC, however, is hopeful that the cost of power will drop in coming years as the government steps up production of electricity from other sources, including geothermal.

The rise in PPI consequently pushed up consumer inflation in the second quarter as people are buying goods at higher prices than before.

The overall inflation rate stood at 7.39 per cent in June, up from 7.30 per cent in May, according to KNBS.

East African nation’s year on year inflation from June 2013 to June this year also increased, the KNBS report showed, by 2.19 percent, mainly driven by manufacture of beverages and mining and quarrying.

"However, manufacture of food declined by 3.07 per cent compared to a year ago due to lower producer prices of tea and sugar."

PPI measures gross changes in the producer prices of products and services on the domestic and non-domestic markets, at all stages of processing.

The price changes are measured from the perspective of the seller.

The PPIs are used as an aspect of output for the seller and as a cost factor for the buyer, according to KNBS.
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Kenya increases power imports from Uganda as demand rises

By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has raised fourfold power imports from Uganda as demand in East Africa’s biggest economy rises.

The country’s power imports from Uganda have now hit an average of 12 million kilowatts per hour (KWh) every month, up from 3 million KWh in January, according to new economic data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The imports have been rising gradually since the beginning of the year as consumption surges.

According to KNBS, East African nation’s power imports hit 12.1 million KWh in April, the first time in the past three years.

The largest power imports Kenya has made from Uganda in the last three years has been 4.6 million KWh in August 2013.

The increased importation is attributed to depressed rains in Kenya, which led to drop in water levels at power generation dams.

Kenya mainly relies on hydro for generation of electricity.

However, this year, East African nation did not receive adequate rainfall during the long rains season that normally begins from March to May.

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company notes the decrease in rainfall has led to drop of water at the Seven Forks power generation dams, which account for about half of the country’s total electricity output.

Kenya generates over 80 percent of its power from hydro, followed by thermal and geothermal.

In January, the country’s power imports from Uganda stood at 3.76 million KWh.

This dropped to 3.17 million KWh in February before tripling to 9.40 million KWh in March and surging to 12.1 in April.

During the periods, local power generation stood at 746 million KWh in January and then dropped to 673 million KWh in February. It rose to 737 million KWh in March and in April, generation stood at 717 million KWh.

And as power imports and generation rise, consumption has similarly been on the rise.

It now stands at an average of 583 million KWh every month, with January and April recording the highest levels. Kenyans consumed 611 million KWh of power in January and 588 million KWh in April.

As demand rises, the country’s power exports to both Uganda and Tanzania have been on a downward trend.

Exports to Uganda have dropped from 3.76 million KWh in January to 1.65 million KWh in April.

To Tanzania, exports during the period have dropped from 3.91 million KWh in January to nil in April.

Kenya consumes up to 6.6 billion KWh of electricity annually, against production of 8.4 billion KWh, according to KNBS.

While the electricity produced can sufficiently cater for all Kenya’s energy needs, a lot of power is lost.

KNBS data indicates that East African nation loses up to 200 million KWh of power in a month.

In January, Kenya lost 148 million KWh of electricity, in February 100 million KWh and in April 147 million KWh.

Kenya made the biggest power lose in March, which stood at 209 million KWh.

Last year alone, the power loses, which are calculated as the difference between total generation and consumption, stood at 1.9 billion KWh.

Kenya’s demand for electricity is expected to increase in the coming months as the East African nation intensifies its rural electrification programme and efforts to become an industrialized nation.

However, the rise in consumption will be exacerbated by the erratic rains, which affect hydropower generation, making the country increase its imports.

Kenya, with the help of African Development Bank, is currently constructing a power line to connect it with Ethiopia for imports.

The over 1,000 km line is expected to transfer up to 2,000 mega watts of power from Ethiopia, which has surplus.

The beneficiaries of the project in Kenya are expected to be households, businesses, schools and industries, some which are currently incurring huge costs due to frequent power outages.

Consumers in the East African nation are facing tough times as Kenya Power, which distributes electricity, raises its tariffs.

Starting next month, power bills will rise by 10 percent, with consumers using 200 kilo watts of power paying 54 U.S. dollars, up from 49 dollars.

According to Kenya Power, there are estimated over 2.1 million electricity consumers connected to the electricity national grid, up from 686,195 in 2003.
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JUNE 2014:

Slovakia to assist Kenya to adopt nuclear power

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Slovakia will assist Kenya to utilize nuclear generated electricity, the Slovak Ambassador to Kenya, Michal Mlynar, has said.

Mlynar told Xinhua in Nairobi that both nations will sign a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy by the end of 2014.

"We have agreed to work closely to develop Kenya’s capacity to harness nuclear energy," Mlynar said.

He added that his country will train Kenyans in nuclear expertise.

"We are a member of the European Union and so our nuclear standards are world class," the envoy said. Slovakia relies on nuclear power for 80 per cent of its electricity needs.

"We recommend that Kenya considers adopting nuclear power given its huge energy deficit.

"There is no way Kenya can bridge the gap by using hydropower, geothermal or wind sources," he said.

"However, it will take at least 15 years before Kenya can safely adopt nuclear power," he noted.

According to Mlynar, the cost of generating electricity via nuclear is less over the long run compared to other sources of energy.

Kenya needs at least 1000 nuclear experts before it can generate safely nuclear electricity and the country is targeting to train at least 100 experts annually.

Other countries that have expressed interest in assisting the east African nation include South Korea and France.
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MAY 2014:

Kenya plans to restructure electricity distribution firm

by Robert Manyara KERICHO (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has said plans are underway to restructure electricity distributor Kenya Power in order to speed up the distribution of electricity and meet the demands for new connections.

Deputy President William Ruto said for the government to achieve its target of ensuring more than 70 per cent of Kenyans get electricity in the next five years, Kenya Power must be restructured to ensure its efficiency.

"We have given notice to the management of Kenya Power to restructure their services and get rid of cartels. Kenya Power should style up and ensure it speeds up distribution of electricity Kenyans," Ruto said in Kericho Country in northwest Kenya.

The electricity firm is carrying out investment in its power distribution systems being driven by the expected 5,000MW through the new fast-tracked program by the government that will be developed through private public partnerships (PPPs).

The fast tracking of the new power generation is because of the expected peak swing in demand from the planned electric powered standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi to be built in the next three years and the planned Konza Technology City among other projects.

The deputy president said that stern action will be taken against those frustrating efforts to provide electricity to Kenyans at affordable rates.

He said it was unbelievable that Kenya Power buys a power pole at 35 U.S. dollars and sells the same pole at a cost of 230 dollars saying it was unacceptable.

He said some few individuals should not be allowed to benefit at the expense of Kenyans, adding that days for cartels in the sector are numbered.

Ruto said plans were underway to produce additional 5,000 megawatts in the next three years noting that the government was committed to ensuring more Kenyans were connected to electricity.

"We have directed Kenya Power to ensure the cost of connecting electricity remains at 400 dollars.

"We want to reduce to 170 dollars in the next two years," Ruto said.

The deputy president said the government will ensure that all primary schools in the country will have power connection in the next financial year.

Demand for electricity in Kenya is also being driven by new connections especially among the households and the rural electrification drive.

Kenya Power doubled the number of customers connected to electricity from one million in 2008 to 2.3 million in 2013, officials said.

An additional 330,000 customers will be connected by the end of this financial year, in June, financed through a revolving fund provided by the French development agency, AFD.

The Kenya government will also provide new revolving fund to offer subsidized new connections for at least 100,000 customers.

Within the next 40 months, at least 1600MW of power is expected from geothermal sources, 1920MW from coal powered plants, 420MW from hydro, 650MW from wind and 700MW from liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at Dongo Kundu in Mombasa, according to Cabinet Secretary for Energy David Chirchir.
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SEE ALSO:

Electricity Generating Company adds 20MW to Ngong wind farm

             

 

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