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



Three Chinese Solar Panel Groups Lose Exemption From EU Tariffs

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg

The European Union applied tariffs on three groups of Chinese solar-panel makers that have been exempted from the levies, potentially reviving tensions in the EU’s biggest trade case of its kind.

Stock graph

Green Bonds Sprout as Wall Street Embraces Renewable Energy Debt

Cordell Eddings, Bloomberg Bonds backing clean energy and other sustainable initiatives are booming. Investors are snapping up green bonds at the fastest pace on record, as big banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. pile in with new iss...
Loss and profit binders

Yingli May Return to Profitability in Second Half, CFO Says

Justin Doom, Bloomberg

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., a Chinese solar manufacturer that hasn’t reported income in almost four years, may return to profitability in the second half, the chief financial officer said.

Students and solar powered cars with energy storage

Rain or Shine, Students Keep Their Solar Race Cars Going with Energy Storage

Wayne Hicks, NREL Teegan and Kira Cordova love the original Star Trek TV series. That much is obvious. The eighth-grade twins from Ken Caryl Middle School in Littleton are wearing the uniform tunics from the 1960s show — Teegan's in red and...


Volume 18, Issue 3


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



PV-301: Advanced PV Design & Installation

This highly desirable and advanced course is intended for the profession...

PV-401: Advanced Field Training

Real world on the job solar installation, training, and experience is th...

PV-201: Introduction to PV Design & Installation

PV 201 Introduction to PV Design & Installation is simply the best i...


Up to Bat – Why More Solar Companies Are Thinking Seriously About A...

Given the growth of the solar industry in the U.S., with 2014 year-...

How to Reduce Soft Costs With a Critical Path Map

For solar installers, soft costs are a fact of life. However, they don&r...

Community Solar Solutions Appeal to Eco-Conscious Millennials

Tech savvy and convenience oriented, the millennial generation is the mo...


Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now