Energy in Kenya

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Electricity Transmission in Kenya.

Energy in Kenya describes energy and electricity production, consumption, import and export in Kenya. Kenya's current effective installed (grid connected) electricity capacity is 2,299 MW as at March 2015.[1] Electricity supply is predominantly sourced from hydro and fossil fuel (thermal) sources.

Just until recently the country lacked significant domestic reserves of fossil fuel. The country has over the years had to import substantial amounts of crude oil and natural gas. This might change with the discovery of oil reserves in Kenya, which relied on oil imports to meet about 42 percent of its energy needs in 2010. As of the end of June 2016, 55% of Kenyans were connected to the National grid, which is one of the highest connection rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.Per capita consumption in domestic households however, remains low.Kenya Power


Sources of electricity[edit]


Source (as March 2015) Capacity (MW) Capacity %
Hydro 820.6 37.69%
Fossil Fuels (incl. gas, diesel and emergency power) 717 32.93%
Geothermal 588 27.01%
Bagasse Cogeneration 26 1.19%
Wind 25.5 1.17%
Total 2,177.1 100%

* Energy Regulatory Commission. Source:[1]


Source (2014) Generation (GWh) Share %
Hydro 3,310 36%
Oil 1,714 19%
Geothermal 4,059 44%
Biofuels 136 1%
Wind 38 <1%
Solar 1 <1%
Total 9,258 100%

Renewable energy[edit]

Kenya is currently the largest producer of geothermal energy in Africa. It is one of two countries in Africa that produce geothermal energy, the other being Ethiopia. In 2010, geothermal accounted for almost 20 percent of Kenya's total electricity generation. The country has the potential to produce 10,000 megawatts of geothermal-powered electricity, according to Kenya's state-owned Geothermal Development Company.[3] Total renewable energy capacity is at 60%.[4] With most of that coming from Hydro-Power.

Hydroelectric power[edit]


In Kenya, there are plans by the government to end the monopoly[5] of the electricity distribution market but until that happens, power distribution is only held by one company:

However power generation is done by



Kenya has one of the largest crude oil refineries in East Africa, the 90,000-barrels-per-day (bbl/d) Mombasa refinery. The refinery typically operates below capacity and processes Murban heavy crude from Abu Dhabi and other heavy Middle-Eastern crude grades. In 2011, Kenya imported about 33,000 bbl/d of crude oil entirely from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Kenya imported 51,000 bbl/d of refined oil products in 2011, according to KNBS. Kenya has a product pipeline system that transports petroleum products from Mombasa to inland areas.[8] The Port of Mombasa is a key point of entry used by large national energy companies, such as Hass Petroleum and Dalbit Petroleum.[9][10] Most of the imported and/or domestically refined products are sold in Kenya's major cities and the remainder is sent to neighbouring countries via trucks. In 2013, Kenya consumed around 83,600 bbl/d of oil products.[11]


In mid – 2012 oil was discovered in Kenya. This came after a long time of disappointing exploration activities in Kenya. The reserves became commercially viable after it was confirmed that there were around 300 million barrels worth of reserves.

As of January 2014, Tullow said Kenya's Northern Basin could have an excess of 1 billion barrels of oil. Kenya's deposits may top 10 billion barrels.[12]


If the Kenya-Uganda pipeline was connected it could pipe 500,000 barrels of oil per day. Kenya could envisage exporting oil as early as 2016.[13]


Fuelwood demand in the country is 3.5 million tonnes per year while its supply is 1.5 million tonnes per year. The massive deficit in fuelwood supply has led to high rates of deforestation in both exotic and indigenous vegetation resulting in adverse environmental effects such as desertification, land degradation, droughts and famine.[14]


Future sources of electricity[edit]

Year Demand Capacity
2013 1,191 MW 1,600 MW
2015 2,500 MW 3,000 MW
2030 15,000 MW 19,200 MW

* Kenya electricity sector. Source:[2] [3]

Projected Capacity – 2031
Source Capacity (MW) Capacity %
Geothermal 5,530 26%
Nuclear 4,000 19%
Coal 2,720 13%
GT-NG 2,340 11%
MSD 1,955 9%
Imports 2,000 9%
Wind 2,036 9%
Hydro 1,039 5%
Total 21,620 100%

* International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Source:[4]

Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP)[edit]

7 Countries came together because they saw mutual benefit in having one power pool they were:[15]

  • Burundi
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • Sudan

However more countries were included:[16]

  • Tanzania (2010)
  • Libya (2011)
  • Djibouti
  • Uganda

The objective of the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) is to increase the volume and reduce the cost of electricity supply in Kenya; and to provide revenues to Ethiopia through the export of electricity from Ethiopia to Kenya.

In the first phase the Kenyan grid is connected to the Ethiopian grid.

Kenya also plans to be connected to the South African grid by 2015 through Tanzania which is also part of (SAPP).[17]

Geothermal power[edit]

Geothermal power plants, which convert steam generated from hot rocks deep underground into electricity, have a prominent place in Kenya’s overarching development plans. These include the Vision 2030, the NCCAP, and the current ‘5000+ MW in 40 months initiative’. Geothermal power has the potential to provide reliable, cost-competitive, baseload power with a small carbon footprint, and reduces vulnerability to climate by diversifying power supply away from hydropower, which currently provides the majority of Kenya’s electricity. Kenya has set out ambitious targets for geothermal energy. It aims to expand its geothermal power production capacity to 5,000 MW by 2030, with a medium-term target of installing 1,887 MW by 2017. As of October 2014, Kenya has an installed geothermal capacity of approximately 340 MW. Although there is significant political will and ambition, reaching these ambitions is a major challenge.[18] Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and Geothermal Development Company aim at raising the country's geothermal output from the current 593MW, to 1 GW by the year 2018[19] and 5 GW to the grid by 2030.[20]

Nuclear power[edit]

In September 2010 Former Energy and Petroleum Ministry PS Patrick Nyoike[21] announced, that Kenya aims to build a 1,000 MW nuclear power plant between 2017–2022.[22] For Kenya to achieve middle-income status nuclear energy has been determined to be the best way to produce safe, clean, reliable and base load (constant supply) electricity. The projected cost using South Korean technology is US$3.5 billion.[23]

Carbon emissions[edit]

Kenya emits .03 percent[24] of the world carbon dioxide, which is about 12.62 (Million Metric Tons of CO₂).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Kenya Electricity IEA 2014
  3. ^ a b "Kenya – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". 30 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "House seeks to end Kenya Power's monopoly". Business Daily. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "US-based firm joins steam power production in Kenya – Corporate News". 
  8. ^ "Kenya Pipeline signs financing for Sh35bn Mombasa-Nairobi line - Capital Business". Capital Business. 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  9. ^ "Hass Petroleum (K) Ltd". Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  10. ^ "Dalbit Petroleum Kenya | About Us". Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  11. ^ "International Energy Statistics, February 2015 -". Knoema. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  12. ^ Kenya From Nowhere Plans East Africa’s First Oil Exports: Energy. Bloomberg L.P..
  13. ^ "UPDATE 2-Kenya-Uganda could pipe 0.5 mln barrels of oil per day – Tullow". Reuters. 
  14. ^ "Energy Saving Stoves – The Significance for Kenya". 
  15. ^ "Projects : The Eastern Electricity Highway Project under the First Phase of the Eastern Africa Power Integration Program". World Bank. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Kenya to link to SA power grid by 2015 – Business". 21 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "INSIDE STORY: Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) to accelerate geothermal power: Lessons from Kenya - Climate and Development Knowledge Network". Climate and Development Knowledge Network. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  19. ^ "Kenya in cheaper geothermal option". The East African. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  20. ^ Organised by. "Kenya targets 5,000 MW of geothermal power by 2030". 
  21. ^ "Office of public communications:Partick Nyoike". Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Kenya to commission first nuclear plant in 2022". 6 August 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  23. ^ "Kenya Aims to Build a Nuclear Power Plant by 2017". Bloomberg L.P. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  24. ^ "Kenya gets Funding for Africa's Largest Wind Farm | Informed Comment". 16 May 2013. 

External links[edit]