According to data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya’s generation of expensive thermal electricity hit an 11-month high in February. This surge in thermal power generation is due to the country’s need to fill the deficit caused by reduced hydropower generation caused by drought.
Thermal power generation increased by 33% to 142.35 million units, up from 107.32 million units generated in January. It is the highest amount of power generated from thermal sources since March 2022 when 170.16 million units of electricity were produced from thermal sources.
The country’s total power sold by Kenya Power dropped by 4.8% to 828.7 million units in February. The KNBS data shows that power generation from all sources dropped, except for thermal power. The decrease in demand for power is due to a challenging economic environment blighted by high inflation.
Kenya Power was forced to turn to thermal power producers after hydropower generation fell to a record low of 112.91 million units due to a prolonged drought that sharply cut the water level in dams. Power generation from geothermal also fell to 472.15 million units – the lowest since April last year (441.39 million units) – while generation from wind also dropped significantly to 190.66 million units down from 203.31 million units in January.
Thermal electricity is the most expensive power source, with its price being multiple times more expensive than cheaper sources such as hydro, geothermal, and wind. Last month, Kenyans paid Sh8.3 per unit for thermal power, underscoring the cost implications of thermal sources as a power generation source.
This cost has, however, been reduced to Sh3.9 per unit in this month’s monthly power price review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority. Kenyans are currently grappling with a high cost of living driven by high food costs, fuel price increases, and higher costs of electricity, transport, and other commodities.
This surge in thermal power generation highlights the need for Kenya to invest more in renewable energy. Renewable energy is a clean, sustainable, and cheaper source of energy. It is environmentally friendly and reduces the carbon footprint. Investing in renewable energy could help to reduce the country’s dependence on thermal power and ultimately reduce the cost of electricity, which would, in turn, improve the standard of living for Kenyans.
KenGen, the leading electricity generating company in Kenya, is exploring the possibility of generating up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) from geothermal and hydro sources. This move is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on thermal power and ultimately reducing the cost of electricity. Geothermal energy is currently the cheapest source of energy in Kenya.
Investing in renewable energy would not only be cost-effective but also provide the country with a reliable source of energy, as the country is prone to droughts that affect hydropower generation.
In conclusion, the surge in thermal power generation highlights the need for Kenya to invest more in renewable energy. Renewable energy is cheaper and sustainable, which would reduce the cost of electricity and ultimately improve the standard of living for Kenyans. As Kenya continues to develop, it is essential to prioritize clean and sustainable sources of energy that will benefit both the present and future generation