January uptake of thermal power falls to record low

Economy

January uptake of thermal power falls to record low

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Consumption of expensive thermal energy fell to a record low in January, easing pressure on households as favourable weather raised production of cheaper hydro and wind power.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show the energy uptake from thermal power generators reduced by half to 5.52 percent of the total uptake in January compared to 11.8 percent during similar month last year.

The 54.5MW uptake was also the lowest since the significant drop was recorded after September 2019 when the figure was last above 100MW and represents a 6.8MW fall from December uptake.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the reduction was helped by favourable weather which caused a rebound in wind generated power. There was also increased uptake of geothermal power during the period.

“We have had good weather which means we have a steadier supply from the hydro and better supply from wind. We have also had additional geothermal power into the grid from the Olkaria project,” Mr Keter said.

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Wind contributed some 89.7MW to the national grid in January, a significant jump from the 45.57MW in December 2019.

Turkana, where Kenya has the largest wind farm, has been experiencing reported heavy rainfall that had disrupted wind power generation usually favoured by dry and hot season.

The reduced intake from the expensive diesel-fired generators has seen the fuel surcharge levy drop to Sh2 from the Sh3 per unit three months ago.

The Fuel Cost Charge, which is among the pass-through costs by Kenya Power to consumers alongside inflation adjustment and forex charge has been on the decline since May 2019 when it stood at Sh3.75 per unit.

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