Focus on green energy, KPLC boss urges

June 29, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – Independent power producers in the country have been urged to tap into more green energy power production.

Kenya Power and Lighting Company Managing Director Engineer Joseph Njoroge said on Monday that increased investment in green energy was the only guarantee to sustained electricity supply in the country.

Mr Njoroge said producers should take advantage of the new feed-in tariff policy in the Energy Act passed recently that is encouraging more uptake of green energy from independent producers.

“Within this new tariff structure an independent power producer generating at least 500KW is allowed to sell it to us,” Mr Njoroge said.

He explained that the new feed-in tariff policy in the Energy Act requires that KPLC off-takes any energy produced by wind, biomass or small hydro electric plants.

“There are even prescribed prices in the policy and all this was done to facilitate the growth of green energy in the country,” he said.

Speaking during the signing of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) with Kenya Tea Development Authority’s Imenti Tea factory and Genpro Power Systems, Mr Njoroge said the country currently has a suppressed demand of 1072MW against a production capacity of 1242 MW.

He observed that investment in thermal generation means that the cost of electricity is dependent on the cost of fuel while in green energy there is no uncertainty in prices.

“When we use green energy, apart from the initial investment there is no uncertainty in the prices because we are relying on our natural resources,” Mr Njoroge said.

Genpro from Mt Elgon is proposing to contribute 3MW to the grid in the next three years while Imenti Tea Factory is proposing to sell 284 KW to KPLC by October this year.

Kenya Tea Development Authority Managing Director Lerionka Tiampati said Imenti Tea factory has the potential to produce 900 KW but will only sell 284 KW so far.

He said KTDA has a number of sites under feasibility study for the purpose of green energy production.

“The cost of manufacturing has been going up and one of the key costs is energy. Due to this we have decided to diversify into power production as a means of reducing the cost of production and diversifying the source of income for our farmers,” Mr Tiampati explained.    

Mr Njoroge also said that despite hydro generating dams in the central region still operating at minimum capacity KPLC was determined not to review electricity tariff rates.

“We will endeavour to continue with the diversification strategy of our power sources in order to cushion our country from possible shortages. Especially when other factors compromise the delivery of energy from the already existing sources,” he said.

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