NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – Kenya Electricity Generating Company, KenGen, has announced the closure of Masinga Power Station due to the prolonged drought but advised that the overall impact on the company’s power generation output will be minimal.
KenGen Acting Managing Director, Richard Nderitu, said in a statement issued on Tuesday that KenGen has been running Masinga Power Station below the Minimum Operating Level of 1037 metres above sea level for the last three weeks and the remaining water in the dam could not sustain any further generation at the station.
Mr Nderitu confirmed that the dam level at the time of closure on June 26 last week was at 1035.5 metres above sea level, one and half metres below the recommended minimum operating level. Soon after the closure, company engineers started releasing the Dead Storage, (remaining water in the dam) through the low level outlet to boost the level of Kamburu Power Station, the second station on the Seven Forks cascade.
Mr Nderitu said that although the closing of the Masinga Power Station will result in losing the 14MW of power the station was producing at the current dam level, the subsequent raising of the level of Kamburu Dam by the dead storage will result in better efficiencies in the downstream power stations and the overall effect on power generation output will be minimal.
Masinga Dam water level has been declining steadily due to poor hydrology for the past two years from 1056.5 metres in May 2007 to the current level of 1035.5 metres at the time of closure. The station is expected to be up and running before end of the year depending on the performance of the short rains.
Mr Nderitu, who is also the company’s Head of Operations said that continued running of the station at such low water level could expose the machines to damage due to vibrations and cavitations and closing it down was the most “prudent operation at the current water level”.