Energy in Kenya

This article describes energy and electricity production, consumption, import and export in Kenya. Kenya's current effective installed (grid connected) electricity capacity is 2,651 MW, with peak demand of 1,912 MW, as of November 2019.[1] At that time, demand was rising at a calculated rate of 3.6 percent annually, given that peak demand was 1,770 MW, at the beginning of 2018.[1] Electricity supply is mostly generated by renewable sources with the majority coming from geothermal power and hydroelectricity.[2]

Electricity Transmission in Kenya.

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.[3] Per capita consumption in domestic households however, remains low.[1]


Worker at Olkaria Geothermal Plant.

Sources of electricity

Generation Capacity of Electricity in Kenya[4][5]
Source (As of October 2019)Capacity (MW)Capacity %
Fossil Fuels (incl. gas, diesel and emergency power)72025.54%
Bagasse Cogeneration280.99%
Solar 50 1.77%
Generation Sources of Electricity in Kenya[6]
Source (2015)Generation (GWh)Share %
Generation Sources of Electricity in Kenya[7][8]
Source (2019f)Generation (GWh)Share %Avg cost Shs/kWh

Renewable energy

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 energy 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.[9] Total renewable energy capacity is at 60%, with most coming from Hydro-Power.[10] In July 2019, Kenya opened Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) which is the largest wind power plant in Africa. This project is part of the country's ambitious plan of reaching 100% green energy by 2020.[11]

Hydroelectric power


External image
Kenya grid map, present and planned

The bulk of electricity is transmitted by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company.

In Kenya, there are plans by the government of Kenya, to end the monopoly of the electricity distribution market; but until that happens, power distribution is only held by one company; Kenya Power and Lighting Company (Kenya Power).[12]

However, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), is responsible for generating approximately 90% of installed capacity. Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are responsible for about 10% of installed capacity. The following IPPs are active in Kenya: (a) Westmont (b) AEP Energy Africa (Iberafrica)[13] (c) OrPower4 Kenya Limited (a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies) (d) Tsavo Power Company (e) Aggreko (f) Africa Geothermal International[14]


The biggest consumer of electricity in Kenya is Kenya Pipeline Company, followed by Bamburi Cement.[15] As of July 2018, of the 6.5 million Kenya Power's customers, 5 percent or 348,459, were commercial customers (including businesses and factories). Of these, the largest 6,000, were responsible for 60 percent of the national power consumption, averaging in excess of 15,000 electricity units per month.[1] Peak consumption around 1,830 MW often occurs 1940hrs while baseload (minimum demand) of about 900MW happens at 3:30 am.[16] Average electricity consumption per citizen is 167 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.[17] From November 2018, households and businesses consuming less than 100 kWh/month pay a subsidized rate of Sh10/kWh.[18]


Worker at Olkaria Geothermal Plant.
Sources of electricity
Projected Generation Capacity and Demand of Electricity in Kenya[1]
20131,191 MW1,600 MW
20181,802[1]2,351 MW[1]
203015,000 MW19,201 MW
Projected generation mix according to nuclear agency

OBS: Not official plan

SourceCapacity (MW)Capacity %

* Source: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP)

Seven countries came together because they saw mutual benefit in having one power pool. The original countries were:[19] (a) Burundi (b) Democratic Republic of the Congo (c) Egypt (d) Ethiopia (e) Kenya (f) Rwanda and (g) Sudan.[19]

Later, more countries joined the pool, including:[20] (a) Tanzania (b) Libya (c) Djibouti and (d) Uganda.[20]

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.[20] The process of connecting the Ethiopian grid to the Kenyan grid is underway via the Sodo–Moyale–Suswa High Voltage Power Line.[21]

Kenya also plans to be connected to the South African grid, through Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. That process is also underway as of July 2018, via the Isinya–Singida High Voltage Power Line.[22][23]

Geothermal power

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 1887 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.[24] Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and Geothermal Development Company aim at raising the country's geothermal output from the current 593 MW, to 1 GW by the year 2018[25] and 5 GW to the grid by 2030.[26]

Nuclear power

In 2017, the Kenya Nuclear Electrification Board (Kneb) estimated that a 1,000 MW nuclear plant could be operational by 2027 and cost Ksh500-600 billion ($5–$6 billion)[27] located at either the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria or Lake Turkana.[28]

In September 2010 former Energy and Petroleum Ministry PS Patrick Nyoike[29] announced, that Kenya aimed to build a 1,000 MW Nuclear power plant between 2017 and 2022.[30] For Kenya to achieve middle-income status, Nyoike viewed nuclear energy as the best way to produce safe, clean, reliable and base load (constant supply) electricity. The projected cost using South Korean technology was US$3.5 billion.[31]



In 2017, Kenya consumed 2,480 megalitres (655,146,690 US gal), of diesel fuel. The same year, the country used 1,672.8 megalitres (441,907,009 US gal), of refined petrol.[32] The monthly figures are 213 million litres of diesel, 150 million litres petrol, and 39 million litres kerosene.[33]


In 2011, Kenya imported about 33,000 bbl (5,200 m3) per day of crude oil entirely from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Kenya imported 51,000 bbl (8,100 m3) per day of refined oil products in 2011, according to KNBS. Kenya has a product pipeline system that transports petroleum products from Mombasa to inland areas.[34][33]

Kenya had one of the largest crude oil refineries in East Africa, the 90,000 bbl (14,000 m3) per day Mombasa refinery. The refinery typically operated below capacity and processed Murban heavy crude from Abu Dhabi and other heavy Middle-Eastern crude grades. The refinery was shut down in February 2016.[35]


In 2012 oil was discovered in Kenya. As of May 2016, proven reserves were estimated at 766 million barrels. This puts Kenya ahead of Uzbekistan in the global rankings. Tullow Oil, one of the companies prospecting for oil in the country, is of the opinion that the national reserves are in excess of 1 billion barrels.[36]


After the collapse of negotiations to build the Uganda-Kenya Crude Oil Pipeline, Kenya began to make plans to build the 892 km (554 mi) Kenya Crude Oil Pipeline (costing $1.1 billion or Sh110 billion) on its own,[37][38] expected in 2022. Turkana oil is expected to be produced at 13,000 m3 (80,000 bbl) per day, so Kenya expects not to build an oil refinery, as that would require 64,000 m3 (400,000 bbl) per day to operate commercially.[39]


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.[40]

Carbon emissions

Kenya emits .03 percent of the world carbon dioxide, which is about 12.62 (Million Metric Tons of CO₂).[41]

See also


  1. Otuki, Neville (3 July 2018). "Electricity demand crosses 1,800 MW mark". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  2. GENI (20 June 2016). "National Energy Grid Kenya". San Diego: Global Energy Network Institute (GENI). Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  3. Lily Kuo (16 January 2017). "Kenya's national electrification campaign is taking less than half the time it took America". New York City: Quartz Africa. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  4. Energypedia (5 June 2018). "Kenya Energy Situation". Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  5. Global Legal Insights. "Energy in Kenya 2018". Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  6. International Energy Agency (31 December 2015). "Kenya: Electricity and Heat for 2015". Paris: International Energy Agency (IEA). Archived from the original on 11 August 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  7. "Audited Accounts for Year Ended 30.6.2019" (PDF). Kenya Power and Lighting Company. 4 September 2020. p. 55.
  8. "Kenya Power on the spot for ignoring cheaper electricity". Business Daily. 21 October 2020. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020.
  9. U.S. Energy Information Administration (30 May 2013). "Kenya's Key Energy Statistics". Washington, DC: Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  10. Catherine Kathambi Kianji (18 June 2012). "Kenya's Energy Demand and the role of Nuclear energy in future energy generation mix" (PDF). Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Archived from the original (Archived from the Original) on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  11. "Kenya launches largest wind power plant in Africa". CNN. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  12. Mutai, Edwin (10 July 2013). "House seeks to end Kenya Power's monopoly". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  13. Irungu, Geoffrey (29 June 2018). "SA firm buys out Moi-era power producer Iberafrica". Daily Nation. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  14. Herbling, David (8 April 2013). "US-based firm joins steam power production in Kenya". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  15. Kajilwa, Graham (18 December 2017). "Why Bamburi cement put off mega plans for alternative solar energy". The Standard (Kenya). Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  16. "Power consumption highest 8.30pm daily in Kenya, lowest 3.30am – Kenya Power". Energy Siren. 9 October 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  17. "Ethiopia races ahead of Kenya, Tanzania in power use growth – World Bank". Energy Siren. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  18. "Electricity tariffs for 5.7 million homes drop by up to 37 per cent". Energy Siren. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  19. World Bank. "Projects: The Eastern Electricity Highway Project under the First Phase of the Eastern Africa Power Integration Program". Washington, DC: World Bank.
  20. EAPP (2016). "About The Eastern Africa Power Pool". Addis Ababa: The Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP). Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  21. Muhaita, Abel (2 August 2017). "Power line to reduce costs by seven shillings". The Star (Kenya). Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  22. Staff Reporter (11 August 2012). "Kenya to link to Southern African power grid by 2015". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  23. Asfaw S; Kulemeka N; et al. (July 2014). "Multinational Kenya–Tanzania Power Interconnection Project: Country : Kenya and Tanzania: Project Number : P-Z1- FA0-052" (PDF). Abidjan: African Development Bank. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  24. "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 23 August 2017.
  25. "Kenya in cheaper geothermal option". The East African. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  26. Organised by. "Kenya targets 5,000 MW of geothermal power by 2030". Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  27. "Kenya plans nuclear plant by 2027". The East African. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  28. "Chinese firm to pick nuclear power plant site". Daily Nation. 17 July 2019.
  29. "Office of public communications:Partick Nyoike". Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  30. "Kenya to commission first nuclear plant in 2022". 6 August 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  31. "Kenya Aims to Build a Nuclear Power Plant by 2017". Bloomberg L.P. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  32. Otuki, Neville (9 October 2017). "Diesel consumption drops for first time in 7 years". Daily Nation. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  33. "Kenya's fuel flow chain – how does it get to petrol stations?". Energy Siren. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019. From the storage tanks in Mombasa, petrol, diesel and kerosene are pushed through the pipeline to various distribution depots stationed at strategic locations across the country.
  34. Capital News (15 July 2015). "Kenya Pipeline signs financing for Sh35 billion Mombasa-Nairobi Line". Nairobi: 98.4 Capital FM. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  35. Karambu, Immaculate (21 February 2016). "Refinery plant to be used a storage facility". Daily Nation. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  36. Lily Kuo (11 May 2016). "Kenya may have a lot more oil than it previously thought". New York City: Quartz Africa. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  37. BBC News (23 April 2016). "Uganda picks Tanzania for oil pipeline, drops Kenya plan". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  38. Wachira, George (26 April 2016). "Fast track Turkana-Lamu pipeline to beat Uganda to global oil markets". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  39. Siren, The Energy (19 February 2019). "Kenya rules out refinery option for Turkana oil". Energy Siren. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  40. Ndiso, John (3 May 2018). "Corrupt officials to blame for loss of Kenya's forest cover: government report". Johannesburg: Reuters Africa. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  41. "Kenya gets Funding for Africa's Largest Wind Farm | Informed Comment". 16 May 2013.