Kenya managed to lower by 51.7% its electricity imports in the first half of 2015 thanks to its newly operational geothermal power station.
Data from the country's Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) shows Kenya imported 27.97 million kWh from the neighbouring Uganda and Ethiopia in the first half of the year, down from 57.91 million kWh in same period last year.
The decline can be attributed almost exclusively to the 280 MW of geothermal power that came on the grid at the Olkaria field.
In December 2014, the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) started feeding to the grid power from the 140 MW Olkaria 1 power plant, the last phase of the 280 MW of Olkaria geothermal power station. Over the past year, this has resulted in a decline in power bills by more than 20%.
Kenya is tapping geothermal resources in the Rift Valley as part of its broader ambitions to have 5,000 MW on the grid by 2017. At present, the country’s installed generation capacity amounts to 2,298 MW, with geothermal accounting for close to half of the national energy mix.
The country plans to increase the number of customers from 2.8 million to eight million in five years and achieve an access-to-electricity level of 70% from the current 32%.