Kenya’s electricity producer said on Thursday it plans to boost the contribution of wind energy to the national grid from the current 2.5 percent to 10 percent as it steps up investments in environment friendly renewable energy.
Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) CEO Albert Mugo said additional contribution from wind energy would add impetus to the government’s 5000MW+ initiative to expand power generation and access.
“Kenya has a lot of potential in wind energy owing to the good wind regime in various parts of the country. Very soon we will be able to boost our installed capacity in wind to meet the rising power demand,” Mugo said after conducting the Belgian Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter de Crem, on a tour of the Ngong Wind Farm on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The East African nation has stepped up power production from 650 million KWh a month last year, particularly from geothermal, which is cheaper and reliable.
The country produces an average of 360 million KWh from geothermal a month, up from 250 million KWh last year. From hydro and thermal sources, Kenya produces an average of 300 million KWh and 100 KWh every month.
However, despite the increased power generation, demand for electricity has risen to up to 800 million KWh a month, making the country raise imports from its neighbours as it steps up rural electrification and more industries are set up.
KenGen is already implementing the first phase of a wind plant in Meru, eastern Kenya which will be expected to inject a further 100MW into the national grid.
Mugo said the contribution of wind to the national grid currently stands at about 2 percent, but this will soon go up as the national electricity generator scales up renewable energy development.
The power generator is also focusing on increased geothermal generation, which has helped to significantly reduce the dependence on hydro generation which is vulnerable to weather conditions. The company’s installed capacity stands at 1,595MW.
“With renewable energy, especially wind and geothermal being at the core of our strategy, KenGen is helping the nation achieve a transformation by increasing the quantity of power, reducing the cost of electricity and ensuring regular supply,” Mugo said.
He added that KenGen will also consider investing in solar in the future to supplement wind energy once the cost of equipment and storage comes down.
He disclosed that a feasibility study conducted three years ago revealed solar is not attractive due to costs involved, but expressed hope that with the downward trend currently being witnessed in the cost of equipment it will offer opportunities for power generation.
Pieter de Crem lauded KenGen for investing heavily in renewable energy.
“I am here to see the extent to which the two governments have been working together on the development of renewable energy and I am very impressed with what I have seen here today. What’s most outstanding is that all this is green and renewable energy. Wind energy is both stable and sustainable,” he said.
Part of the 25MW wind farm is funded by the Belgian government, which is seeking further opportunities to invest in the country’s renewable energy sector.