NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – In a move that will see Kenya’s wind power increased from the current 787 Megawatts, Kenya Power and Kipeto Energy Limited have signed a 20 year power purchase deal which will see Kipeto deliver 100 Megawatts of power to the country’s power grid.
The wind project will be put up at a cost of Sh32.26 billion and will be funded by the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Ben Chumo says that the project will contribute to the government’s initiative of providing 70 percent of households with electricity by 2017.
“Apart from connecting more Kenyans with electricity, this project will contribute in ensuring Kenya’s power is insured as wind power is readily available. Additionally, it is a move that will see renewable energy put into use, hence contributing towards fighting global warming,” Dr Chumo said.
Located in Oldonyo Narok in Kajiado County, the wind project will be the region’s second biggest after the 300 Megawatt Lake Turkana wind project.
The project will comprise construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a Greenfield wind farm in Kajiado.
Kipeto will however not work alone in the project. Apart from the funding by OPIC, General Electric (GE) will also be part of the project providing 60 GE 1.7-103 wind turbines. Others include African Infrastructure Investment Managers, Craftskills Wind Energy International Limited and the International Finance Corporation.
“This project is also part of the government’s plan of diversifying the 5,000MW additional generation capacity.
Figuratively, geothermal energy contributes to 48 percent of the country’s power grid, followed by hydrothermal power at 37 percent.
Diesel comes in third at 12 percent while wind currently amounts to just 1 percent. Solar and imports account for the rest.
“It should be noted that hydrothermal, is not our biggest source of energy. This is a good thing seeing that hydro is dependent on the amount of hydro available in the country. This is why we are encouraging the harnessing of renewable energy such as that of wind,” Chumo said.
Progress can also be traced in the sector. According to Chumo, when the Jubilee Government took office in 2013, only 2.2 million households had an electricity connection. Barely three years down the line, the number has risen to 4.6 million households.
“At an average of 5 people in a household, we can comfortably say that almost half of Kenya has electricity.”
KPLC is hoping to do more. According to Chumo, the company has hit the government’s target of delivering electricity to 1 million people by end of 2016, a feat the company has already achieved by June 2016.
This translates to the country currently having 2,341Megawatts in total up from 2013’S 1,768Megawatts.
Going forward, the CEO said that the company will be focusing on expanding it electrical network, reducing loss of electricity, increasing connectivity and system reinforcement.
“We have managed to reduce loss to 9 percent from 17 percent. We believe we will be able to do more,” he said in conclusion.