Drought Affects Hydroelectricity Generation in Kenya

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The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has stated that if it doesn’t rain in the next two weeks, they will be forced close down the Masinga Dam due to low water levels.

Keter was speaking on Tuesday at a meeting with the Energy Parliamentary Committee in Mombasa, reports the Nation.

“If it doesn’t rain in the next two weeks, the government will shut down the dam. Water levels are too low to allow continued generation of electricity at the station,” Keter said.

Keter said the 40MW Masinga Hydroelectric Power Station was shut down twice due to lack of enough water.

High dependency on hydroelectricity

Another hydropower plant that has been affected by the bad weather conditions is the Sondu Miriu hydroelectric power station, which is supposed to generate 80MW, and is currently producing less than 10MW.

“Last year was very bad. But if it rains in March or April, we will be okay. We are working with regional partners to develop a proposed dam to generate electricity in western region. Turkwel Dam is the only power plant which is operating well, unlike Sondu Miriu which is a runoff dam,” he said.

He noted that the country relies mainly on hydroelectricity, which is cheaper. “If the dam levels go down, we will have to use thermals. In Mombasa, we used to run 100% on thermal. Right now we are doing 80MW of geothermal direct from Olkaria. We are also connecting on hydro from Kiambere.

“If it goes down, we will have to run Rabai and Kipevu 123, which use expensive diesel,” he said.

Keter said the government would focus more on western region to ease electricity generation.

Private sector involvement

He said private sector involvement is crucial to increase funding in electricity generation projects.

Kenya’s geothermal potential is about 17,000MW, he said. Read more…

“We are doing only 800MW. Geothermal is capital intensive. We are number five in the world in terms of geothermal generation. The US leads with about 3,600MW.

“Infrastructure has been done and water drilling, too. We only have one investor doing geothermal power at Olkaria, about 150MW. We will also be doing gas power plants here in Mombasa, about 700MW,” he said.

Source: ESI-Africa

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