Kenya Power has announced plans to connect more Kenyans to the national grid after the firm announced plans to augment an additional 160 megawatts (MW) of green (clean) energy against the country’s total power capacity of 2,300MW.
The firm says the addition will be achieved as the firm inks power purchase agreements (PPAs) with three independent power manufacturers in a move geared at enhancing the country’s electricity production.
Kenya Power Acting Managing Director Ken Tarus said the move is in line with Kenya Powers’ commitments of reinforcing the country’s power transmission and distribution network by partnering with the private sector as well as constructing additional lines and substations.
Kenya added 1.3 million households to its electricity grid last year, raising the percentage of connected Kenyans to 55 per cent from just 27 per cent in 2013 when the country’s electrification campaign began in earnest.
In another four years, Kenya plans to achieve ‘universal access’ where 95 per cent of homes will be connected to electricity despite the fact that per capita consumption in domestic households is still low.
Kenya’s power sector relies largely on renewable energy sources such as hydropower and geothermal energy, with the supplement of imported fossil fuels needed to meet the increasing demand for electricity.
Development experts see access to electricity as important for improving everything from education and agricultural productivity to employment.
Across the African continent, an estimated 600 million people which account to 70 per cent of the population, do not have access to electricity.
If Kenya reaches universal access by 2020 as alleged, it will be among the first African countries to do so.
Economists say that electricity has valuable economic advantages, including the potential to alleviate poverty and create employment opportunities