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Coal Set to Play a Major Role in Future Power Generation

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The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum intends raising electricity generation capacity by 5,000MW from the current 1,660MW by 2016. Out of the 5,000MW, coal and natural gas will play the biggest role as they were expected to contribute 3,000MW. The programme will be the largest single initiative to solve energy problems in the country and will play a significant role in helping the Government achieve a 10 percent annual economic growth as envisaged in the Vision 2030. The programme was the subject of discussion during the Energy Day 2013Conference that took place on September 9, 2013 at KICC, Nairobi. It was attended by energy sector stakeholders including development partners, industry players and public officials. The keynote address was delivered by the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development Mr. Adan Mohamed on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Coal deposits have been found in parts of Kitui County where geo-scientific exploration was carried between1999 and 2012. The area is sub-divided into four exploration Blocks namely A, B, C and D. Block C alone has over 400 million tonnes of recoverable coal. Equal amounts are likely in Block D since the two have striking similarities. Development of coal resources in Blocks C and D have been bided for and concession agreements to start development are almost complete.  Further, to increase private sector participation, 31 other blocks have been delineated for gazettement and licensing. The blocks are mainly at the Coast, Eastern and Rift Valley regions and the Ministry is especially planning to fast-track exploratory drilling in Kwale and Kilifi.

Green energy is expected to play a significant role in the success of the programme and the targeted resources that will play a major role in the attainment of the 5000+MW include geothermal, solar, wind, small hydros, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and, bio-energy.  An estimated 887MW of geothermal capacity will be developed in Olkaria, Menengai, Baringo, Suswa, Longonot and Akiira. The proposed projects will entail drilling of a total of 400 geothermal wells by both Government agencies and independent power producers (IPPs).  

Currently, there are five off-grid pilot solar power stations with a combined capacity of 210 kW. Initial assessment shows they are economically viable.  Elsewhere, preliminary wind resource assessment has shown that wind regimes in a number of places in the country can support commercial electricity generation as they enjoy wind speeds of up to 14 meters per second. The Government has installed 61 wind masts and data loggers from where data will be analysed so as to inform wind power development in the various sites.

Small hydros have an estimated potential of about 3,000MW. Studies conducted so far to identify the sites has reviewed about 300 sites with a potential of about 600MW. The Ministry has already undertaken detailed studies on 26 sites with a total combined capacity of 46MW. A programme to assess hydropower potential in all river basins has also commenced.

As regards bio-energy production which can be utilised in solid, liquid or gaseous form, it has been established that in the short term, 200MW can be generated through biomass cogeneration.

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