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Power outages have become a common occurrence in Kenya and Africa in general. Such power outages often occur during dry seasons when the water levels in hydroelectricity generating dams are below the Minimum Operating Levels (MOL).
Therefore, Kenya’s overdependence on hydroelectricity is not tenable in the long term (Ministry of Energy 2011). However, Kenya is well endowed with geographic features such as the Great Rift Valley that makes the country ideal for geothermal electricity production.
This research is important to several people and for several reasons. This research is beneficial to the general public, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), and Ministry of Energy (MoE) amongst others. The research will act as a basis for policy formulation around geothermal electricity generation by Ministry of Energy (MoE). KenGen is the main electricity generating company in the country.
This research will help the company understand the challenges faced by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in geothermal power generation. KenGen can explore such challenges to consolidate its market share. The research will also be critical to power investors keen on power exploration, capacity building, and infrastructure developments amongst other aspects in geothermal power generation.
Rationale of study
Power energy is going to play a critical role in Kenya’s long term development plan dubbed vision 2030. However, several challenges continue to face hydro and thermal generation of electricity. Hydro generation of electricity is chiefly affected by the changing climatic conditions especially in the context of rain patterns. The thermal energy is not spared either.
In the recent past, oil prices at the international level have been relatively unstable and unreliable thus making thermal electricity production very expensive. Oil prices are likely to be relatively expensive and unreliable in the future owing to the changing political fortunes of the oil producing countries and other international issues.
The oil itself is a depleting resource, which means that Kenya together with the world needs to move to renewable and environment friendly energy alternatives. These are some of the reasons necessitating this research.
The chief research objective will be the strategic management in the enhancement of the geothermal electricity production in the country. In achieving the main research objective, the research will utilize several specific questions as outlined below.
- What are the institutional and policy frameworks that have been put in place to enhance geothermal electricity production?
- What are the various geothermal power stations in the country and what are their outputs?
- What challenges are facing geothermal electricity generation in the country?
- What measures can be taken to enhance geothermal electricity production in the country?
There are several studies that have been done by other scholars in the context of the enhancement geothermal electricity in Kenya and Africa in general. Some of these scholars include Muriithi (2006), Mbendi (2011), and Oludhe (2006). Oludhe has particularly been noted as an authority on the dangers of overdependence on hydro generation of electricity. His work is one of the major academic works that this paper will utilize.
The research will have ultimately achieved the following aspects.
- Contextualizing geothermal electricity production in the country
- Identifying the challenges facing geothermal electricity production in the country
- Proposing measures that can be implemented to curb the challenges in the geothermal electricity production in the country
Ministry of Energy (2011). Updated Least-cost power Development Plan: Study Period, 2011-2031. Retrieved from http://energy.go.ke/