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Kenya mulls how to go green

NAIROBOI, Kenya Sep 8- The government is looking towards green sources of energy as it plans to add 3,000 megawats to the national grid by 2018.

The move has been necessitated by an eight percent annual demand for electricity that is putting immense pressure on the country’s electricity sources.

Speaking during the commissioning of a 5.1-megawatts wind farm in Ngong, KenGen Managing Director Eddy Njoroge said wind and geothermal energy would provide a sustainable alternative to meet the rising demand.

“As the dominant power generator in this country, the responsibility of this demand weighs heavily on us. We accept and embrace this challenge and we will endeavor to remain ahead of the demand,” Mr Njoroge said.

Economic activity in the country has been on the rise in the recent months. This has seen the monthly demand for electricity rise by 11 percent in June compared to January forcing the country to turn back to thermal power to ease the pressure.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said the country had great potential in wind energy production that has remained greatly underutilized.

“We have very very good wind regimes in northern Kenya. The ministry is now engaged in collecting data, which we will share with investors to develop it, Mr Murungi said.

KPLC has already entered into a power purchase agreement with the Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited (LTWP) for the supply of 300 megawatts of wind power to the national grid. The wind farm in Loiyangalani, Marsabit district is expected to start production in March 2012 reaching full production capacity of 300MW by September 2012.

Mr Njoroge said KenGen plans to increase its wind energy capacity in Ngong to 25.5MW by the end of 2012.

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Two separate contracts of 6.8MW and 13.6MW will be awarded with the Belgian government providing a €6 million consecional loan for the 6.8MW and the Spanish government providing a further €20 million for the 13.6MW production.

Mr Njoroge said KenGen is also working with HYDROCHINA International for an additional 50MW on the southern part of Ngong hills within the next three years.

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