The International Hydropower Association ,IHA ranked Kenya at position 14, a drop from position 12 in Africa hydro power rankings .Kenya expanded its hydro power capacity by a modest 6MW last year, which saw it overtaken by two nations to slide downward in the rankings .
East Africa’s largest economy has recently switched focus to geothermal energy to cut reliance on weather-dependent hydro power and expensive diesel generators, which this year have led to record high electricity prices.
This explains the sluggish approach to development of more hydropower stations. Recent works have involved expansion of existing major hydroelectric stations and equipment upgrade for optimal generation as opposed to construction of new major plants.
Several private firms, including Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), have also been setting up mini-hydros of less than 10 MW.
Heavy electricity bills
Hydro power dependence has in the past subjected consumers to heavy electricity bills during droughts when expensive diesel generators are ramped up.
The IHA report indicates that neighboring Ethiopia is the top hydro power producer in Africa with an installed capacity of 3,822 MW.Second is South Africa (3,595 MW), followed by Egypt (2,844 MW), DR Congo (2,593 MW) while Angola is fifth.
Hydro power is Kenya’s cheapest source at US $0.01 kilowatt hour (Kwh), geothermal comes at US $0.08per unit while a unit of thermal power goes for over US $0.2