NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s geothermal power production
has peaked at 402 million kilowatts per hour (KWh) a month as
the East African nation seeks affordable, cleaner and reliable
The country produced 402.2 million KWh in
October, up from 389 million KWh in September and 378 million
KWh in August, latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of
Statistics (KNBS) showed on Wednesday.
It is the first time that the East African nation’s
geothermal power production has crossed the 400 million KWh mark
ever since it started to surge in December 2014 after the
injection of additional 280 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.
Kenya was the first African country to tap geothermal power,
according to the World Bank.
It has potential to produce 7,000MW and is targeting
production of at least 5,000 MW by 2030.
According to the Kenya Electricity Generating Company
(Kengen), the country aims at increasing geothermal capacity by
another 460 megawatts by 2018 to reduce the volume of
hydro-power in its mix to 28 percent.
This is to significantly reduce the exposure of Kenya’s
electricity consumers to the consequences of bad weather and
climate change, which considerably cuts power supply from the
hydro-power stations and forces the country to resort to costly
thermal power generated from diesel.
Geothermal contribution to the national energy mix now stands
at 51 percent, with hydro-power coming in second.
The rise in geothermal power generation has boosted the total
electricity production in the East African nation to over 800
million KWh a month, up from an average of 750 million KWh.
With the rise in geothermal power production, consumers are
enjoying uninterrupted power supply and bidding goodbye to
blackouts that characterized use of electricity years ago.
"I am happy with the electricity supply.
"I do not remember the last time we had a blackout in this
estate but things are good.
"My bills have also come down slightly," Kevin Mutua, a
cybercafé operator in Komarock estate on the east of Nairobi
Boosted by increased geothermal power generation, electricity
supplier Kenya Power made its first tariff cut in June.
Homes using between 51-1,500 units now pay 0.125 U.S. dollars
per unit from 0.134 dollars.
"A stable and cheaper power supply is all a nation needs to
develop because businesses make more money by having fewer
interruptions and they save on their electricity bills," said
Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, adding that
geothermal power injects impetus into the Kenyan economy by
creating more jobs and shoring up its industrialization.