Kenya Power has signed an agreement to buy 76 megawatts (MW) of electricity from two local private companies, as it races to expand supply in one of the fastest-growing economies in east Africa.
Kenya Power’s Chief Executive Ben Chumo said during a signing ceremony on Wednesday the power firm would buy 70 MW from a geothermal plant run by Akiira Geothermal Limited at a cost of 9.23 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour.
Akiira’s power plant – which uses from steam in underground water heated by the earth’s core – was expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016, Chumo said.
Chumo said the country’s sole electricity distributor had also agreed to buy 6 MW of hydroelectric power from Kleen Energy Ltd at a cost of 9.20 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour. Kleen Energy is expected to start production in August 2016, he said.
Kenya depends heavily on renewables such as geothermal and hydro power, and aims to expand its installed generation capacity to about 6,700 MW by 2017, from about 2,500 MW now.
Kenya Power signed a power purchase agreement in July for 100 MW from a wind farm whose construction is expected to start later this year.
Kenya’s economy grew by an estimated 5.4 percent in 2014, and the World Bank forecast growth of 6.0 percent in 2015 and 6.6 percent in 2016 in its latest economic update.