Energy matters in Kenya are handled by the Ministry for Energy. The largest share of Kenya’s electricity supply comes from hydroelectric stations at dams along the upper Tana River, as well as the Turkwel Gorge Dam in the west. A petroleum-fired plant on the coast, geothermal facilities at Olkaria (near Nairobi), and electricity imported from Uganda make up the rest of the supply.
Kenya is banking on energy as an infrastructural enabler to transform into it a newly industrialised economy by 2030. Wood and other biomass, imported fossil fuels, geothermal, and hydro power, are Kenya’s main current sources of energy, and it is currently the largest producer of geothermal power in Africa. The country’s dependence on hydroelectric power has steadily decreased, although it is still the main source of electricity, accounting for more than 37 per cent.
Nonetheless, fewer than one in four Kenyans is connected to the national grid, although that is an increase from a little over one in ten in 1990. Kenya currently has an installed generation capacity of 2,295 megawatts (MW) or 168 kWh per capita, but is investing heavily in projects to increase that. Already close to 70 per cent of its power comes from renewable sources. The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, a privately-invested ‘wind farm’ installing 365 turbines across 40,000 acres of northern Kenya, which will be the largest in Africa, aims to add 310 MW to the national grid once operational in 2018.
Efforts are underway to diversify power sources into wind, solar and more geothermal. To become energy sufficient, Kenya aims to produce 5,000 MW of electricity within five years. Geothermal generation at Olkaria in Naivasha and Menengai near Nakuru are on course to add close to 600 MW by the end of 2017. The discovery of petroleum reserves in Kenya’s north has generated significant interest in the country’s petroleum potential, and coal deposits have been found in the south east in an area known as Mui Basin.
Good opportunities exist in the energy sector to generate electricity using renewable sources such as geothermal, hydro, solar, wind, biomass, biofuels, biogas and municipal waste. Additional information on the Energy Sector in Kenya can be found on the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum website accessible on www.energy.go.ke.
Opportunities in Energy
- Continuing hydrocarbon and petroleum exploration
- Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower generation
- Innovations in renewable power generation
- Transformer manufacturing
- Development of diesel plants and hydropower.
- Drilling and steam field development of wells for geothermal.
- Construction of pipeline and storage facilities for petroleum products.
- Exploration of petroleum deposits in other potential regions of the country.