10 February 2016

East Africa: Kenya Doubles Power Exports to Uganda, Tanzania

Photo: The Guardian
File photo.

Kenya has nearly doubled its electricity exports to Tanzania and Uganda on the back of increased geothermal power generation even as local consumers await the price advantage.

Kenya Power, the electricity distributor, sold 46.6 million units (kilowatt hours) to the two countries last year, up from 26.9 million a year earlier, official data shows.

The country also cut its power imports by almost half following the injection of geothermal power to the national grid.

The additional cheaper geothermal energy, especially the 280MW injected in the second half of 2014, helped to reduce the use of expensive thermal power.

But power bills have remained nearly the same over the period as the expected benefits were wiped out by tariff increases in June 2014.

Kenya has a direct transmission line connecting it with Uganda, enabling bulk power trade.

Uganda accounted for 93 per cent of the market for power from Kenya.

The country, however, lacks a line connecting it with Tanzania, resulting in limited power exchange at common border towns which are not connected to the Tanzanian grid.

Kenya sells power to parts of Tanzania that via Namanga, while Dar es Salaam previously sold power to Nairobi via the coastal local towns of Lunga Lunga and Vanga.

Nairobi last year stopped electricity imports from Dar and significantly cut imports from Kampala while ramping up its power sales.

Tanzania plans a natural gas-fired power plant that could result in a cutback on Kenyan imports.


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