The Kenya Electricity Generating Co (KenGen) has finally switched off Aggreko’s costly emergency power from the national grid after twice seeking extensions to the contract which expired last week.
KenGen’s 30-megawatt gas turbine — which replaced the Aggreko’s diesel-fired Muhoroni temporary power plant — began supplying to the grid last Wednesday.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said unplugging Aggreko would come as a relief to consumers in the form of fuel cost savings given that emergency power is expensive compared to other forms of electricity generation such as geothermal, hydro, thermal and wind.
“The KenGen gas turbine produced 76 megawatt-hours on Wednesday while Aggreko was nil. There is no more Aggreko in the dispatch data,” said Joseph Oketch, director of electricity at ERC.
“The fuel cost charge is likely to go down. Per unit cost of electricity is now lower given that our grid is mixed.”
The fuel cost charge, linked to the amount of power generated from diesel, has remained unchanged since January at Sh2.31 per kilowatt-hour.
The regulator was twice forced to extend Aggreko’s contract for a month, first in May and later on June 14.
This was after KenGen cited logistical hitches in setting up the alternative generators and later encountered technical glitches during testing of the diesel-fired generator.
“We are not extending Aggreko. We already generated to the grid last week during tests,” said KenGen managing director Albert Mugo in response to our queries.
The firm spent $4.3 million (Sh430 million) to move and install the 30-megawatt thermal generator from Embakasi to Muhoroni, he said.
Emergency power is priced as high as ¢50 per kWh, which is more than double the cost of diesel-fired electricity set at ¢20 for each unit.
Hydropower, through susceptible to the vagaries of weather, is the cheapest at ¢3 per kWh followed by Mumias co-generation (¢6 per unit), geothermal (¢7 per kWh), Biojoule’s biogas (¢10 per unit), and Strathmore University’s solar power is priced at ¢12 per unit.
Aggreko’s 3.4-megawatt Garissa temporary generator has also been removed from the grid and the site is now being decommissioned, according to ERC.