16 May 2014

Kenya: Industrial Clients Assured of Power Supplies

Nairobi — THE Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Davis Chirchir, has outlined energy expansion plans as well as dedicated power lines to the country's biggest industrial power consumers.

Speaking at a forum organized in Nairobi by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) for the top 100 consumers, Chirchir pledged to top consumers that dedicated power lines would be available exclusively for their use.

He also promised more reliable power supply with geothermal power coming into the grid soon.

“We want to give you better base load power - power which is available at all times - like now there have been failed rains,” he said adding that expensive energy was running down the country's industrial sector.

Industrialists consume 60 percent of electricity generated in the country whereas average consumption ranges from Sh 200 million and the top ten consumers use 10 percent of the power generated every day in the country.

Chirchir said a matrix had been developed to ensure that the two upcoming coal plants which will produce 960 MW each in Lamu and Kitui would not be a threat to the environment.

“Because of our geothermal advantage in Kenya we are fairly green with 61 percent renewable energy. We deliver fairly clean power without endangering the environment,” he said.

Betty Maina, Chief Executive Officer of KAM pointed out that expensive power was hampering economic growth.

Manufacturing has been growing at 13 percent but in recent times.

This has gone down to 10 percent and the absence of the expansion of the sector has been constrained by energy.

“No country has experience rapid industrialisation and poverty eradication without energy. The retail sector on the other hand has grown due to informal jobs which we know are precarious, so we need a backbone for this industrialisation which is manufacturing,” said Maina.

Kenya Power CEO, Ben Chumo said they were working to enhance the Nairobi South Region which comprises of many industrial consumers.

“We have specific areas of focus that we are currently rehabilitating our existing network starting with where we get the most of our revenue and where the economy would hurt most if energy were to fail. That is why we started with the Nairobi South Region,” he said.

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