Kenya has cut electricity imports from Uganda by more than half following the injection of additional geothermal power into the national grid. Electricity imports from Uganda in the six months to June dropped by 30.86million which translates huge losses from the neighbouring country.
According to Data from the Energy Regulatory Commission shows that Kenya imported 27.97 million kilowatt-hours from the neighboring country including Ethiopia in the first half of the year, down from 57.91million kWh in same period last year citing a 51.7 per cent drop. The drop follows the injection of close to 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 than a fifth over the past year.
Kenya had last stepped up imports from Uganda to meet the growing demand for power by rising demand from industrialists and increased customer connections, particularly in rural areas. Uganda sold 102.13 million kWh of electricity to Kenya Power last year, earning it nearly Sh1 billion. Uganda has been exporting electricity to Kenya under an agreement established during colonial times but renegotiated at Uganda’s insistence in 1997. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda aim to build a 400 kilovolt (kV) electricity line running from Olkaria via Uganda to Birembo in Rwanda.
Besides Uganda, Kenya also imports power from Ethiopia to feed the neighbouring Moyale County, which is not linked to the national electricity grid. Kenya bought 1.48 million kWh of power from Ethiopia in the first half of the year. Kenya is tapping geothermal resources in the Rift Valley as part of its broader ambitions to add 5,000 megawatts to the grid. The country plans to increase the number of customers from 2.8 million to eight million in five years translating to 70 per cent access to electricity from the current 32 per cent.