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KenGen to take over Garissa solar plant

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Garissa Township Mp Aden Duale with Energy and Petroleum Charles Keter, Balambala Mp Omar Shurie and Rural Electrification Authority Chairman Simon Gicharu at solar plant in Raya's Garissa County. PHOTO | ABDIMALIK ISMAIL | NMG

Summary

  • The 54.6 megawatts plant, located 15km from Garissa Town, was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 and is the latest initiative to cut the country’s reliance on expensive thermal power.
  • Most of Kenya’s electricity is generated by renewable sources, with geothermal ranked as the biggest source of power to the grid with hydroelectricity and wind following.

Power Producer Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) #ticker:KEGN will manage the Sh13. 5 billion Garissa solar power plant built by the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC).

The 54.6 megawatts plant, located 15km from Garissa Town, was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 and is the latest initiative to cut the country’s reliance on expensive thermal power.

Energy Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa said KenGen will manage the plant because it has more expertise in running it.

“REREC is handing over the operations of the Garissa solar power plant. It is being taken over by KenGen which has more expertise in running such,” said Mr Kihalangwa said in Mombasa.

He was speaking during the launch of REREC’s Sh159 billion five-year strategic plan whose focus is to “sustainably electrify all the rural public facilities and households by 2022”.

The plan that covers 2018/2019-2022/2023 further aims at developing and promoting the use of renewable energy, increasing electricity connectivity, promoting research, establishing strategic collaborations with stakeholders, building human capital, strengthening institutional capacity and achieving financial sustainability.

REREC, a fully owned government entity, will achieve its target through funds mobilisation from the national government, development partners, public-private partnerships, county governments, investments and the community.

“As much as we have done so well in terms of energy connectivity our electricity costs have been going up,” said Mr Kihalangwa.

He urged the stakeholders to embrace rural electrification and renewable energy.

The PS said Kenya is lucky to have a good energy mix of geothermal, hydro, solar and wind.

By advancing rural electrification in marginalised areas, Mr Kihalangwa said, will bring development and spur many sectors.

“We must ensure proper alignment of our mandates, you must be able to speak to each other to execute your tasks seamlessly,” he said.

Most of Kenya’s electricity is generated by renewable sources, with geothermal ranked as the biggest source of power to the grid with hydroelectricity and wind following.

The corporation aims to electrify 25,899 public facilities (278 public primary schools, 1,339 secondary schools/polytechnics/institutions of higher learning, 1,428 health centers, 5,705 markets among others.

It also plans to connect about 112,500 households that are within a radius of 600 metres of new transformers to electricity. During the same period, some 3,728 public facilities in the off-grid areas will be electrified through the installation of renewable energy mini-grid systems.

REREC plans to install and meter 200 Solar PVs and 20 wind energy systems for institutions, develop and promote biogas and biomass systems for 20 institutions and provide maintenance for 5,000 institutions already installed with renewable energy systems.

The corporation will also install 50,000 out of the 250,000 mapped solar home systems.

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