The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Kenya Postpones Renewable Energy Drive to Reduce Power Costs

Kenya Postpones Renewable Energy Drive to Reduce Power Costs

Kenya suspended issuing new licenses for wind farms and solar plants until 2017 as it prioritizes development of cheaper fuel-based sources to help cut electricity prices, EnergySecretary Davis Chirchir said.

The East African government plans to add at least 5,500 megawatts of power supply in the 40 months from September, more than quadrupling output from current installed capacity of about 1,700 megawatts mainly from rain-fed hydropower plants.

About 80 percent of that additional output will be tapped from facilities powered by coal, liquefied natural gas, and geothermal, Chirchir said in a phone interview on Nov. 25 from Nairobi, the capital. Wind and solar power will contribute a maximum of 15 percent of new supplies and projects already under way have filled that quota. Hydropower and diesel-fired sources will comprise the remainder, he said.

“The planned energy mix is what will give us the tariff and reliability of supply we want,” Chirchir said.

Kenya plans to reduce average electricity prices by as much as 23 percent over the next three years, though industrial, mid- sized and large domestic users may initially see tariffs increase by as much as 12 percent. A surge in generation from more economical power sources is key to cutting bills for consumers, Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Director-General Frederick Nyang said on Nov. 19.

The expansion in power capacity is needed to meet demand which is growing at a rate of 14 percent annually, according to the African Development Bank. Most of the four out of five Kenyans without grid power live in remote and rural areas.

Power Purchase

Kenya Power Ltd., the country’s sole electricity distributor, is obliged under the terms of purchase contracts to buy all power generated by wind and solar projects even if less expensive options are available, said Chirchir. The utility currently has 2.2 million customers in a country with a population of 43 million and gross domestic product of $37.2 billion, according to World Bank data.

“Those contracts are structured like that because there is a risk of generation not happening in the absence of wind or solar energy, yet the investors have to get returns,” he said.

The government has approved new wind farms capable of generating a combined 630 megawatts, including the planned 300-megawatt Lake Turkana Wind Power project in northern Kenya, and solar plants that will provide another 200 megawatts.

One megawatt of capacity is sufficient to supply 2,000 average European homes.

“We will resume licensing new wind and solar power producers after this 40-month phase,” he said.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Expect delays via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

Wind turbines

Why It's Time To Get Real About Energy Security

Hannah Smith, Contributor Energy is Europe’s quiet crisis. While the clamour of failing economies, desperate migrants and political clashes grabs the headlines, energy policy is rarely front-page news, but it should be — the statistics are shocking.

Largest Solar Farm in Virginia Just Commissioned by Amazon Web Services

Renewable Energy World Editors Back in 2012, Amazon received a failing grade from Greenpeace regarding its use of renewable energy to power its cloud centers. Skip a couple years and in 2014 Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a goal of achiev...

A Closer Look at Fossil and Renewable Energy Subsidies

Susan Kraemer, Contrubutor A new study by the International Monetary Fund puts the total cost of fossil fuel subsidies at approximately $10 million a minute globally, when health costs and environmental degradation are included, never mind the effec...

How to Win Planning Permission for Renewable Energy Projects (and Influence People)

Tildy Bayar, Contributor At Tuesday afternoon’s POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe conference session in Amsterdam, Paul Davison of PR firm Proteus discussed how to best communicate with the public regarding renewable ene...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Microgrid Global Innovation Forum

Microgrid Global Innovation Forum  This event brings together thoug...

Grid Edge Live

Grid Edge Live 2015 The impressive two and a half day agenda addresses k...

2015 Solar Power International

Stop by and visit Canadian Solar at the 2015 SPI show!

COMPANY BLOGS

Signing a Solar Lease? Here are Five Things You Need to Know

Solar leases have grown in popularity, and they continue to be one of th...

DIY: Don’t Install Yourself

You finally made the choice to go solar. Seems like it might be pretty e...

Capturing Your Prospects' Attention In Three Sentences

You have about 15 seconds to capture your prospects’ attention, wh...

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS