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Energy PS sees lower power bills if rains continue

Masinga dam. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Masinga dam. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The cost of electricity will significantly reduce if the rains continue, Energy Principal Secretary Eng. Joseph Njoroge has said citing increased water levels at Masinga dam.

The dam, which is usually closed if water levels hit 1,035 cubic metres, now has 1038.8 cubic metres since the rains began.

The PS said Wednesday that the ministry expects rains to continue to raise water levels and consequently lead to a drop in cost of electricity in the long-term.

“A week ago the water levels were going down but they have now stabilised which means output is being matched by input,” he said today.

“According to the meteorologists, in the next few days, we should see more rains. Once we get more rains we expect that we can be able to generate more power from hydro and reduce the uptake of thermal which means the prices should come down.”

The PS says the dam should be filled to at least 1156 cubic metres to increase the amount of power used.

In February, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter warned Masinga dam could be shut down if it does not rain.

He also told Kenyans to brace for higher electricity bills and power outages when water levels had hit 1,041.5 cubic metres.

Green energy sources

The State is planning to inject wind power from Lake Turkana into the national grid this year.

“We should be able to get the wind power into the national grid by end of August or September from Lake Turkana which is 310 megawatts. By October, the Garissa power plant should be able to feed into the grid..that is solar,” Dr Njoroge said at a Renewable Energy meeting at Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi.

By next year, he says the government will commission geothermal power plants, meaning the sector will not be so heavily dependent on thermal energy when there are gaps with hydro sources, but will be self-sufficient with renewable energy.

“What we want is to reduce the uptake of the energy from thermal plants because the cost in these plants is mainly the fuel, not the capacity. The capacity charges especially for a big power system are minimal but fuel cost is very high,” he explained.

Garissa's 50 megawatt solar plant is an experimental project by the Rural Electrification Authority funded by the Chinese government.

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