Kenya’s cost of electricity for both business and domestic users has dropped by a third since December as geothermal power producers joined the national grid, reducing reliance on rain-fed and diesel generators, the country’s main power producer KenGen said on Monday.
Data provided by KenGen showed that geothermal power accounted for 51 per cent of electricity bought by households and businesses in December, up from 14 per cent in the same month in 2013.
The share of thermal power dropped to 10 percent from 37 per cent, while the share of hydro power stood at 41 per cent last month, down from 63 per cent.
Power cost in the east African country is set to go even lower in coming month as the rainfall season begins, reducing KenGen’s dependence on diesel engines, the utility company managing director Albert Mugo told the Press in Nairobi.
“When we get rains that will see hydro-plants generate more and help displace a lot of fuel and reduce the fuel cost charge,” Mugo said, adding that “The full effect” of the geothermal plants coming online has “already reflected in the power bills.”
Kenya is a pioneer in Africa in tapping geothermal power in its Rift Valley region. It is estimated that geothermal has a potential of producing up to 7,000 megawatts for the country.
At the moment KenGen has only managed to bring 280 megawatts of the geothermal power to the national grid.
“This (geothermal) generation has gone a long way to displacing heavy fuels and is obviously helping the economy in terms of saving of foreign exchange,” Mugo said.
Kenya plans to use cheaper geothermal power to halve consumer’s electricity bills in the next three or four years, according to a Reuters report.