The government is determined to address the issue of power security in the country with the Ethiopia-Kenya transmission line set to be launched soon.
Energy Principal Secretary (PS) Mr. Alex Wachira said the line will supply additional Megawatts (MW) of power to the national grid and help stabilize the country`s energy needs.
The PS said prolonged drought has significantly reduced the country`s energy supply from hydro where he said despite the recent rains, the waters in Masinga dam for instance had increased by only two meters.
He was speaking when he appeared before members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy in Naivasha on Monday.
Wachira noted there was need to fast track the implementation of power projects as doing so will ensure access to cheap power for consumers.
To this end, he said they were looking at the tariffs charged in order to bring the cost of electricity down and also return Kenya Power Company limited (KP) to profitability.
The PS however decried the continued vandalism of transformers in the country noting that the power utility company loses an average of 20 transformers in a week negatively affecting the company’s operations.
He regretted that the losses are passed on to consumers through increased bills and hence affecting the economy.
Wachira singled out Othaya in Nyeri and Ndaragwa in Nyandarua counties as leading in vandalism leaving wananchi in darkness.
The vandalism of transformers is said to be motivated by the high demand for copper wires in the black market with the PS urging Parliament to legislate laws that will push unscrupulous dealers off the market by imposing heavy fines and sentences to those found involved in the illegal trade.
The PS also appealed to stakeholders to work together to support geothermal power production as an alternative source of energy noting that the move will ensure power security in the country.
“If we can produce just half of our geothermal capacity, we can sell the surplus power to our neighbouring countries and get foreign exchange,” Wachira said.
He noted that the government has connected nine million Kenyans to the electricity national grid as at the end of 2022 compared to the two million in the year 2002, marking a huge step in the last mile connectivity project.
The PS stated that Kenya has also managed to increase her electricity production from 1,600megawatts (MW) in 2013 to about 3,300Megawatts in 2023.
Geothermal resources in Kenya are located within the Rift Valley with an estimated potential of between 7,000 MW to 10,000 MW spread over 14 prospective sites.
Kenya is set to retire its investments in thermal sources in the country and transition fully to green renewable energy generation by 2030.
By Mabel Keya-Shikuku