Kenya cut its electricity imports from Uganda by more than half after injecting 280 megawatts of geothermal power into the national grid between July and December last year.
Director General of the Energy Regulatory Commission, Joseph Ng’ang’a explained what this would mean for Kenya.
– “For a long time, the system has had inadequate supply, and with the entry of the green sources of energy, we will be able now to not only have adequacy, but also be able to address the issue of costs because by having renewable mix that is predominant we will minimise the amount of pass-through in terms of fuel cost to consumers,” said Joseph Ng’ang’a, Director General of the Energy Regulatory Commission.
Ng’ang’a explains that since around September 2013 up to now, the reduction fuel cost charge totals to about 16 per cent.
Commercial and industrial firms which take for instance a million units will have a reduction of 26 per cent and those that consume domestically about 200 units, the reductions are about 24 per cent which is significant, he explains.
– “I think the key driver here is to change the mix, have adequacy and address the cost,” said Ng’ang’a.
There are concerns that an oversupply could come from this increase but Ng’ang’a assures that there would still be a need.
– “Especially off peak because our load profile during the day is from around 6 to 6 during the day, will take about 1 100 megawatts (MW) to 1 200 MW and in the evenings when people go back to their houses there is a peak that goes by about 400 MW so you have right now a peak demand of about 15 or 16 MW.”
What it hopes to do is to try taking advantage of that, possibly through exporting.
Independent producers will also still be needed to facilitate the demand during peak time.
“When you look at the demand, you require technologies that can be able to react pretty fast to this peak demand in the evening, which is only for about five to six hours so you would hardly fight rational for having base plants that must operate at very high load factors.”
He states that the aim is to shift some of that peak time demand by creating incentives during off peaks through attractive tariffs.