Plans to raise capacity at Kenyan dam

May 12, 2010

, NAIROBI, Kenya May 12 – The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) plans to increase the perimeter wall of its Masinga dam

KenGen Managing Director Eddy Njoroge says the company plans to raise the dam wall barrier by 1.5 metres giving it extra capacity to hold water.

This comes after the dam, which is the holding for four power plants, started spilling water after it reached its full capacity of 1,056 metres.

“This will give us a 25 percent increase in terms of capacity of the dam which currently holds about 1.6 billion litres of water,” Mr Njoroge said.

The extra capacity will see the dam increase its storage capacity to close to two billion litres that could be comfortably used to generate power for one year.

Mr Njoroge revealed that KenGen had already secured a consultant for the project and expects it to commence work once the heavy rains that have ravaged the country cease.

The improved hydrology has also seen KenGen consider retiring all use of emergency power. Mr Njoroge said they were in talks with power distributor KPLC, to give notice to terminate a contract it still holds for 40 MW of emergency power.

In March, KenGen retired 110 MW of emergency power leaving 140 MW, which was meant to run until December this year.

The KenGen boss said going by the level of rain, they had already given notice for termination of 100 MW due to be retired later in the month.

“We are in talks with KPLC for the remaining 40 MW and possibly will not have emergency power by the end of June,” he said.

The move will be a relief for power consumers who have complained of the high cost of electricity.

In November the fuel cost, which is a major component in the computation of the bill was at Sh7.90 per kilowatt-hour, which translated in very high power bills.

On Tuesday, KPLC announced a 40 percent reduction in the fuel cost charge from Sh7.90 per kilowatt-hour to Sh4.98 from April.

Mr Njoroge however contends that the country’s energy demand could not be fully sustained by hydro electricity but urged the power distributor to consider dispatching more hydro during peak hours blending with thermal energy when the demand is low.

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