Kenya has more than doubled electricity sales to Uganda and looks to start supplying Rwanda by year end following the injection of additional geothermal power into the national grid.
Official data shows that Kenya exported 26.56 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) to Uganda and Tanzania in the year to July, up from 12.63 million kWh in the same period last year — a 110.2 per cent growth.
Uganda, which is pushing for increased trade with Kenya, bought the bulk of Kenya’s power exports at 25.33 million units while Tanzania imported 1.23 million units, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) data shows.
“The country has increased power sales and cut imports largely due to the additional geothermal energy to the grid,” said John Mutua, ERC senior manager for economic regulation.
Kenya’s energy scale-up also saw the country cut electricity imports from Uganda by more than half to 31.05 million units from 66.17 million units in the first seven months of 2014.
The country stopped purchase of electricity from Tanzania in the year to July. Kenya also imports power from Ethiopia to feed the neighbouring Moyale County, which is not linked to the national electricity grid.
Kenya had last year stepped up imports from Uganda to meet growing need for power driven by rising demand from industrialists and increased customer connections, particularly in rural areas.
Electricity distributor Kenya Power’s managing director Ben Chumo last month said Kenya would export 30 megawatts of electricity to Rwanda “in the next three months”.
The country plans to construct a Sh5.3 billion power transmission line from January to link it with Tanzania that will further boost power trade.
The decline in imports follows the injection of 280 megawatts of geothermal power into the national grid between July and December last year, which has resulted in a decline in power bills for more a than a fifth over the past year.